Order of Worship
Fourth Sunday of Easter
April 25, 2021

Organ Prelude

Call to Worship 
One:   In this time of worship and throughout our lives, we call on God.
In moments when we search for the power to act justly,
All:      let us do so in the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth.
One:   In situations when our lips long for powerful words to speak,
All:      let us do so in the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth.
One:   At times when we feel lost and need to find the power to follow,
All:      let us do so in the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth.
One:   When it is easier to hate, and we desperately need the power to love,
All:      let us do so in the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth.
One:   God offers salvation, transformation, solace, and refuge.
In it, we obtain the power to act, the power to speak, the power to follow, and the power to love.
All:      In all we do and all we say, let us do so in the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth.
One:   Come, let us worship.

Opening Prayer 
Loving and living God,
we gather together today, guided by you, our Shepherd.
You protect and care for us; you lead us as we journey through life.
During this time of worship, we ask that our ears are open to hear your word,
our eyes are open to see your light,
our hearts are open to feel your love.
As your sheep, we know love,
and we have heard the commandment to love one another.
May our worship be a testament to your love and our dedication to love one another. Amen.

Storytelling          “I am the Good Caretaker”

Sharing of Scripture                         John 10:11–18

Message in Music  “They’ll Know We are Christian By Our Love”  Praise Band

Message               “Love is a Verb”             Rev. Laura McLeod

Prayer of Dedication
To the one who has commanded us to love one another,
we give thanks for the love we have received.
Hugs, prayers, gifts, words of encouragement,
forgiveness, and grace.
In recognition of all we are given
let us now commit to doing love.
Sharing, caring and sacrificing,
being patient, generous, selfless,
risking judgment, loss, disappointment.
Let us offer all the love we have in all the ways we can
until our doing becomes our being.
Let us do love, let us be love,
in the name of the one who is love. Amen.

A Time of Prayer
Preparation for Prayer
Silent Prayer
Pastoral Prayer and Lord’s Prayer
Good Shepherd, there are many among us today and throughout the world who are walking through the deepest of valleys:
For those who are physically and mentally ill, feel lonely and isolated,
for those whose poor choices and behavior have limited their futures,
and those who are victims of others’ poor choices and behaviors,
for those entering into their final days…
for all these and more, we pray that they may know they are cherished members of your flock.
May they rest in green pastures and still waters.
Receive offerings of comfort and protection,
be welcomed at the table of plenty,
and blessings overflow.
We lift their needs to you, our protector and caregiver. In Jesus’ name, we pray, using the words that he taught saying, Our Father…
Amen.

Bless
You have heard it proclaimed; God is love. This love is powerful and transformative. It sacrifices everything, even one’s life. It boldly cries out for justice. It beckons us to leave behind jealousy, hatred, and grudges to abide within. It convicts us to act courageously. Go from this place, knowing that the one who is love profoundly loves you. Take this love and share it with family and friends, as well as stranger and foe, gift it to the hurt and sick, the lonely and troubled. Be bold, be humble, be love. Amen.

Organ Postlude

Sharing of Scripture                                 John 10:11–18
“I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep. The hired hand, who is not the shepherd and does not own the sheep, sees the wolf coming and leaves the sheep and runs away—and the wolf snatches them and scatters them. The hired hand runs away because a hired hand does not care for the sheep. I am the good shepherd. I know my own and my own know me, just as the Father knows me and I know the Father. And I lay down my life for the sheep. I have other sheep that do not belong to this fold. I must bring them also, and they will listen to my voice. So there will be one flock, one shepherd. For this reason the Father loves me, because I lay down my life in order to take it up again. No one takes it from me, but I lay it down of my own accord. I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it up again. I have received this command from my Father.”

I Am the Good Caretaker
Based on John 10:11–18

In Israel, in Jesus’ day, sheep were everywhere. Every hillside had a flock and a couple of shepherds. In every village, people went to sleep to the bleat of sheep and woke up with them wandering past the window. Everywhere you looked, women and men were caring for sheep; keeping an eye on them, looking after them when they were hurt, and helping them give birth.

When Jesus wanted people to know how much he loved them, he said that he was like the hardworking shepherds that the people saw all around them. Jesus said that he is like the shepherd who knows its sheep. I wonder what Jesus would say to us today to help us know how much he loves and cares for us. Let’s imagine Jesus talking to us today.

“I am the good caretaker. The one who welcomes the children and everyone. The one who gathers up the rubbish, the one who fixes the broken things, the one who keeps an eye out for the loiterers and any troublemakers. The one who is here early and late. Whatever is needed, I do.

“There are others who come and go, but I am always here. I know everyone’s name. I know the ones who need space and the ones who like riddles and the ones who limp. I know the ones who carry heavy bags and the ones who are hungry.

“I encourage the late ones and invite the early ones to help. I find the ones who are lost, and I know the ones who wish things were different and the ones who are sure they never can be. I know the ones who are forgotten and the ones we never see.

“I know my job. I know what I must do. I am here. This is my life here.

“I am the good caretaker.”

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