COCU34A.Easter 4A.7thMay2017

Readings:
Acts 2: 42-47: a description of the life of the early disciples as they shared in worship, hospitality and caring for one another
Psalm 23: David’s famous psalm of confidence and hope in God’s care, guidance and provision
1 Peter 2:19-25: Peter encourages the believers who are going through trials because of their faith, and reminds them that Christ, who suffered though he was innocent, is the example we follow.
John 1o:1-10: Jesus warns about those who are thieves and robbers, who do not care for the ‘sheep’, and he speaks of himself as the gate for the sheep, through which the sheep move to find pasture – and the abundant life that Jesus offered.
(Summaries by John van de Laar, Sacredise)

RCL readings Easter 4A

Here are some starters for Easter 4A, from various sources.
Easter 4A elements of worship

Preaching peace reflections

Amazing clip, but maybe not the image Jesus had in mind when he spoke about the shepherd and the sheep…..

Call to Worship
In the darkest valley,
at the banquet table;
in the hard work of life,
at the moments of ease;
in our day-to-day reality,
at times set aside–
like this time, now–
for worship, for listening, for paying attention;
with every step we take:
goodness and mercy follow us;
our cups overflow.
(Words: Joanna Harader, Spacious Faith)

Call to worship
Day by day, God leads us:
to the deep, deep pools of peace,
to the green, lush lawns of grace.

Day by day, Jesus calls us:
to pour out ourselves in service,
to anoint the stranger with hope.

Day by day, the Holy Spirit shows us:
the community we could be,
the family we are called to become.
(Words: Thom Shuman, Lectionary Liturgies)

Call to worship
As the Good Shepherd of every flock, we come to worship you today.
God of infinite love: we come in response to your warm tenderness to us.
As the Compassionate Carer of all vulnerable people, we give you our thanks.
God of limitless mercy: we come to respond to your gentle nurturing of us.
As the Leader, Guide and Protector of every flock of “sheep” and “goats” – we revere and praise you for your generous and gracious mercy to us all.
God of all peoples: we come to praise you in response to your welcoming and generous care of all your people, which overflows with love and understanding. Amen.
(Source: Joan Stott, The Timeless Psalms)

Prayer of Thanksgiving (inspired by Psalm 23)
“You prepare a feast for me in the presence of my enemies.
You welcome me as a guest, anointing my head with oil.” Psalm 23:5
O Holy One,
you are our host as well as our shepherd.
You invite us to the banquet,
the banquet of life.
All parts of the world are invited –
enemies and friends,
the alienated and powerful,
those close at hand and those far off.
You offer the abundance and lavishness
of bread broken and shared
and the cup of refreshment that leads to new life.
We praise and thank you for your abundant spirit.
Goodness and love unfailing,
these will follow us all the days of our lives,
and we shall dwell in the home of our God
for all eternity.
(Words: Sonya Dyer, Prayerbook)

Prayer of thanksgiving
God of infinite love: we come today in response to your warm tenderness to us. As the Good Shepherd of every flock, and of every tradition and culture, we come to worship you and to revere you for your all-inclusive love and care of all that you have created. In confident trust we gather together as your people in this time and place to offer to you our praises of thanks for the way your love is seen and experienced in all spheres of life – if we but take the time to look and see God at work amongst us – blessing and surrounding us with grace and mercy.
The Lord is our shepherd; we have all that we need.
You are close beside us.

God of limitless mercy: we come in response to your gentle nurturing of us as we travel through life with all its challenges and blessings. Gracious God, as the Compassionate Carer of all vulnerable people, we give our thanks and praises for the way you support and strengthen us when we are at our weakest points in life and living. There are many times when we are overwhelmed by the pressures of life; and that is when we are most in need of our Good Shepherd, to nurture us with your presence as you walk beside us, giving us the trust in you we need.
The Lord is our shepherd; we have all that we need.
You renew our strength.

God of all peoples: we come to praise you in response your welcoming and generous care of all your people, which overflows with love and understanding. As the Leader, Guide and Protector of every flock of “sheep” and of “goats”- so we revere and praise you for your generous and gracious mercy to us all. We give to God our thanks and praises for the wonderful gift of trust, which allows us to confidently come to God with our prayers, our praises and our thanks. We are so blessed by the encouragement we receive in response to that blessing of sure and certain trust that God is indeed our Good Shepherd.
The Lord is our shepherd; we have all that we need. You guide us in right way. Amen.
(Source: Joan Stott, The Timeless Psalms)

Prayer (inspired by Psalm 23)
Holy God,
you are our shepherd,
we shall want for nothing that truly matters.
In green pastures you give us rest
and beside deep, still waters you lead us.
You promise to be with us always,
offering freedom from the frictions of hatred, anxiety, fear and pain.
You give us living water to satisfy our thirst for peace.
We praise you and wonder
if this is for all people.
You refresh and restore our souls
and guide us in right paths
for the sake of your name.
When we are cast down
we have been shown ways to bring a new creation
to life in our world.
Your unique plan for all of life and for each life
is written into our very essence.
May we believe it is a plan
filled with hope,
grown out of love.
Help our unbelief.
Even though we walk in the dark valley,
we will fear no danger
for you, God, are at our side,
with rod and staff to give us courage.
Each life, every nation, has its share of valleys.
Some seem to have more than is right.
You are a constant companion in the darkness.
When violence, pain and loss are heavy
you comfort.
When we are aching, lost and discouraged,
you seek us out.
When we go astray,
your compassionate judgement draws us back.
Receive our gratitude. Know our darkness.
You spread the table before us in the sight of our enemies
and richly bathe our heads with oil.
Our cups overflow.
O holy one,
you are our host as well as our shepherd.
You invite us to the banquet,
the banquet of life.
All parts of the world are invited –
enemies and friends,
the alienated and powerful,
those close at hand and those far off.
You offer the abundance and lavishness
of bread broken and shared
and the cup of refreshment that leads to new life.
We praise and thank you for your abundant spirit.
Goodness and love unfailing,
these will follow us all the days of our lives,
and we shall dwell in the home of our God
for all eternity.
(Source: Sonya Dyer, Prayerbook)

Divine Care (a fresh look at Psalm 23)
All is ready,
the Divine host has prepared
for all our needs.
Still places, thin places,
where waters flow,
wildflowers show off
the bounty, beauty
of creation: souls
restored, minds cleared,
bodies rested. The Divine
has taken such good care.
Even in the dark places,
the harsh places, where
rain does not fall, where
soil cracks deep and
thirsty, Divine Comfort is,
even there: stars pierce
the night, angels’ flight
sends a breeze to ease
the mind, give body breath,
soul rest; to clear a path
of humility, of kindness.
The Divine has taken
such good care.
A home awaits, feast is laid,
cups ever full, love overflowing,
mercy, goodness, showered
like oil anointing each day
of life, and here I’ll stay,
in this house the Divine
has made ready for us,
the beloved, Divinely loved.
(Source: Rev Sarah Agnew, Praying the Story)

Collect
God our shepherd,
you sent your voice,
incarnate in your son
to guide us.
We know that voice and follow.
Now may we be that divine voice
for others
that there may be one flock,
shepherded by Jesus Christ our Lord,
who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit,
one God for ever and ever. Amen
(Source: Bob Eldan)

A prayer of confession and commitment
Lord, we would follow you
wherever you might lead.
Lord, we would follow you.
Forgive us when we stumble
and when we stray.
Forgive us when, distracted
we lose our way.
Be the one to whom we turn,
whose hand we hold,
the Shepherd who leads us
safely to the fold.
Lord, we would follow you
wherever you might lead.
Lord, we would follow you.
(Words: John Birch, Faith and Worship)

Prayer of dedication/offering (more prayers here)
(inspired by Psalm 23, 1 John 3)
God of love,
you abide with us;
you provide for all our needs
and guide us in your ways.
Out of gratitude for your care,
we bring our gifts before you.
Use them for your work of caring,
that all may feast at the table of abundance,
walk without fear,
and drink deeply
from the cup of compassion. Amen.
(Words: Mary Petrina Boyd, Ministry Matters)

Prayers for others: Our Shepherding God
O Lord, our Shepherding God,
come close to us now
Come near us in our time of need.
Shepherding God,
we need you in our time of anxiety.
We need you in our time of economic uncertainty.
We need you in a time of a globe-trotting disease.
We need you to bind our wounds,
and pour your healing ointment on our heads .
We need the briars, and brambles, and burrs
pulled out of our fleece and skin.
Shepherding God.
you guide us with your voice,
Help us to listen and follow no matter where your voice leads.
Help us to trust you.
Shepherding God,
protect us from the hired hands
that do not really care for us
and have neglected or abused us in the past.
Shepherding God, thank you for Jesus
whose life was laid down for to show the depth of your love
for the world: for those who follow him
and for those who are not in the fold yet..
Lord we pray for those who don’t know the shepherd,
whose life circumstances kept them from knowing the good shepherd.
We pray that by our actions, our behavior,
and our reaching out into the community,
they may come to know you.
Shepherding God,
renew us, guide us with your love
and renew us with your peace. Amen
(Words: Rev. Abi (adapted), Long and Winding Road)

This would be good as a responsive prayer to conclude the Prayers for Others
Loving Shepherd,
you know our names;
you care for us.
When we face darkness and death,
walk beside us.
When we hunger for your love,
fill us with your presence.
When we are fearful,
feed us at your table.
May we dwell in the house of goodness and mercy
all the days of our lives. Amen.
(Words: Mary Petrina Boyd, Ministry Matters)

Prayers for others (inspired by Psalm 23)
The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want;
We believe in the goodness of God.
We believe God hears and responds to our needs.
We believe God responds to all children everywhere.
He makes me lie down in green pastures.
He leads me beside still waters,
he restores my soul.
We are grateful that we’ve been blessed with enough water.
But we know that many do not have enough.
Not enough water, not enough food, not enough peace.
He leads me in paths of righteousness for his name’s sake.
Too many children do not see God’s righteousness.
Too many children watch violence, taste hunger, feel fear.
Too many children cry from the unspeakable horror of war.
Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death,
I will fear no evil;
for thou art with me;
thy rod and thy staff, they comfort me.
To become involved is risky. Pain is often contagious.
Our hearts may be broken and our lives may be threatened.
Yet we hear God calling and we can no longer hide.
Thou preparest a table for me in the presence of my enemies;
thou annointest my head with oil, my cup overflows.
Our steps may be small and timid.
We may read a book, write a letter, or make a gift.
But each tiny step is blessed by God and multiplies.
Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life;
and I shall dwell in the house of the Lord forever.
God is more relentless than war.
God is more pervasive than hatred.
God is more insistent than despair.
Amen. Amen.
(Words: Katherine Hawker, Liturgies Outside)

Blessing
In the lush pastures of life that hold meeting places with love,
may your feet know the way to find them.
By the still waters of the running stream,
may your hands shape a cup it and drink deep from it.
In the valley of death’s shadow that ever threatens,
may your sense of life find the way through.
At the banqueting table set before your enemies,
may your cup be full and overrunning.
Like the anointing oil that runs down your head,
may the blessing that is you spill into the world with eternal promise.
In the way a shepherd’s staff warms off lameness from fear,
may trust be your protective companion on the way.
Through each day’s living as it unfolds,
may goodness and mercy make their way into every moment.
At the doorway to the house of the Lord of life,
may you recognise your home and your hearth.
And in the song that makes a dwelling-place in your heart,
may its music rise in your soul.
(Words: Roddy Hamilton, Mucky Paws)

MUSIC
Singing from the Lectionary (Natalie Sims)

Take Me to the Water
Take me to the water
flowing deep and wide;
like a shepherd, lead me
to the riverside.

By the quiet waters,
gladly I lay down
all the things that keep me
from your holy ground.

Jesus, in the darkness
make the pathway clear;
I will fear no evil,
knowing you are near.

On a rocky table
in the wilderness,
set a feast before me-
let my foes find rest.

Show me fields of mercy
as I greet the dawn;
to your house of blessing,
I will follow on.

(Words: Daniel Charles Damon. Posted on Hope Publishing’s Online Hymnody website.  A PDF of the musical score available here).

Orders of service
Pilgrim 2011: 9.30am Order of Service (music from Songs for People of God 4 and Songs for Pilgrim and new songs by Helen Wiltshire (see Pilgrim UC website for downloadable copy of words) 20110515 Easter 4A 9.30
Pilgrim 2011: 11am Order of Service (music from Common Praise) 20110515 Easter 4 11 00
2017: Midweek service with HC 
COCU34A.Easter 4A.Midweek2017.PDFversion

Communion: Thom Shuman, COCU34A.Easter4A.ThomShuman.Communion

 

About admin

Rev Sandy Boyce is a Uniting Church in Australia Minister (Deacon) in placement at Pilgrim Uniting Church, in Adelaide CBD (12 Flinders St). This blog is mainly to resource worship planners for our services, but of course may be useful for others. We have some great writers of music, words for hymns and liturgy at Pilgrim, so this blog also includes their words.
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