The Celebration of the Gospel
May 7, 2017 —Fourth Sunday of Easter
The shepherd goes ahead of them, and the sheep follow
because they know the shepherd’s voice.
— John 10.4
_______We Gather as the Body of Christ_____
PRELUDE To Thy Dear Name We Raise Tune: ELLERS, arr: J. David Hart
[As we listen to the music we quiet our minds and bodies,
listen for our hearts’ deepest desires,
and become present to the Holy One who is lovingly present for us.]
* CALL TO WORSHIP
Leader: Shepherd of mercy, you provide for us and protect us.
All: Shepherd of love, lead us in your way.
Shepherd of justice, you gather your flock, and care for the lost and neglected.
Shepherd of love, lead us in your way.
Shepherd of our souls, you guide us toward your own heart, and we follow.
Shepherd of love, lead us in your way.
In gratitude and trust, we worship you. Alleluia!
* SONG Savior, Like a Shepherd Lead Us Blue hymnal # 381
(10:30) CHILDREN’S TIME
__________We Attend to the Word_________
(10:30) THE WORD IN SONG Brother James’s Air Gordon Jacob
PRAYER OF THE DAY
God of love, Shepherd of our souls, we listen for your voice,
the voice that speaks the world into being,
the voice that calls our secret name,
the voice that leads us to abundant life.
Speak to us. We are listening, ready to follow. Amen.
FIRST READING Acts 2.42-47
[A description of the life of the early church, and the Christians’ care for each other. They studied, worshiped, ate and served together, sharing all their possessions.]
They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers. Awe came upon everyone, because many wonders and signs were being done by the apostles. All who believed were together and had all things in common; they would sell their possessions and goods and distribute the proceeds to all, as any had need. Day by day, as they spent much time together in the temple, they broke bread at home and ate their food with glad and generous hearts, praising God and having the goodwill of all the people. And day by day the Lord added to their number those who were being saved.
PSALTER Psalm 23: Shepherd Me, O God Black hymnal, #2058
[The psalm celebrates God’s care for us as a shepherd for his sheep (among other images).]
God, you are my shepherd; I shall not want.
You make me lie down in green pastures;
you lead me beside still waters,
you restore my soul.
You lead me in right paths for your name’s sake.
Even though I walk through the darkest valley,
I fear no evil; for you are with me;
your rod and your staff— they comfort me.
You prepare a table before me
in the presence of my enemies;
you anoint my head with oil;
my cup overflows.
Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me
all the days of my life,
and I shall dwell in the house of the Lord
my whole life long.
NEW TESTAMENT 1 Peter 2.19-25
[The letter encourages us to endure suffering, entrusting ourselves to the care of Christ, who is the shepherd of our souls.]
Grace is given to you if, being aware of God, you endure pain while suffering unjustly. If you endure when you suffer for doing wrong, what credit is that? But God has special concern for you if you endure suffering for doing right. For to this you have been called, because Christ also suffered for you, giving you an example, so that you should follow in the footsteps of Christ, “who did no wrong, who spoke no deceit.” When Jesus was abused, he did not return abuse; when he suffered, he did not threaten. Instead he entrusted himself to the One who judges justly. He himself bore our sins in his body on the cross, so that, free from sins, we might live for righteousness; by his wounds you have been healed. For you were going astray like sheep, but now you have returned to the shepherd and guardian of your souls.
GOSPEL John 10.1-10
[Jesus speaks of himself as a shepherd whose sheep follow him because they know and listen for his voice.]
Very truly, I tell you, anyone who does not enter the sheepfold by the gate but climbs in by another way is a thief and a bandit. The one who enters by the gate is the shepherd of the sheep. The gatekeeper opens the gate for him, and the sheep hear his voice. He calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. When he has brought out all his own, he goes ahead of them, and the sheep follow him because they know his voice. They will not follow a stranger, but they will run from him because they do not know the voice of strangers.” Jesus used this figure of speech with them, but they did not understand what he was saying to them. So again Jesus said to them, “Very truly, I tell you, I am the gate for the sheep. All who came before me are thieves and bandits; but the sheep did not listen to them. I am the gate. Whoever enters by me will be saved, and will come in and go out and find pasture. The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly.
(8:15) SONG Trust and Obey Blue hymnal # 467 vv. 1-2
(10:30) THE SACRAMENT OF BAPTISM
Pastor: Beloved in Christ:
through the sacrament of baptism
God brings us into Christ’s holy church,
makes us part of the salvation of the world,
and gives us new birth through water and the Spirit.
So we come to the water—
Yes, everyone who thirsts! Come to the waters:
water of new birth, poured out and flowing freely
for all who will receive it;
water of justice rolling down,
water of righteousness like an everflowing stream;
a spring of water in us gushing up to eternal life;
the river of God for the healing of the world.
We come to this water
because our souls thirst for you, O God,
as in a dry and weary land.
Sponsor: We come to this water
to baptize Emily
and to bathe her in your love for her.
Pastor: We come to this water as a community.
All: We come to this water
to renew our love as siblings in Christ,
and to renew our baptism
in the death and resurrection of Christ
The Baptismal Vows
Pastor: As we behold the mystery of God’s grace,
I invite you to confirm the baptismal covenant made in your name:
Do you hunger and thirst for righteousness?
Parents, Godparents and Sponsor:
We confess our need for the saving, life-giving grace of God!
Will you turn away from the powers of sin and death?
We renounce the spiritual forces of wickedness,
reject the evil powers of this world,
and repent of our sin!
Will you let the Spirit use you as prophets to the powers that be?
We accept the freedom and power God gives us
to resist evil, injustice, and oppression
in whatever forms they present themselves!
Will you receive God’s grace, give yourselves wholly to God,
and live as disciples of Jesus, Christ’s body on earth?
We confess Jesus Christ as our Savior,
put our whole trust in his grace,
and promise to serve him as our Lord,
in union with the church which Christ has opened
to people of all ages, nations, and races!
Will you nurture Emily in Christ’s holy church?
By teaching and example we will guide her
to accept God’s grace, to grow in faith, and to lead a Christian life.
Do you, as Christ’s Body, the church, reaffirm your rejection of sin
and your commitment to Christ?
Congregation: We do.
Will you be living witnesses to the gospel,
individually and together, wherever you are, and in all that you do?
We will live as faithful members of the Body of Christ
and serve as Christ’s representatives in the world.
Will you nurture one another in living the faith through the church
and include Emily in your care?
With God’s help we will embody the gospel of Jesus Christ.
We will surround Emily with faith, hope and love
that she may grow in grace and faith
and learn to trust God and live in loving service in the world.
We will pray for her and walk with her
on her journey of discipleship among us.
Profession of Faith
Let us join in professing our faith.
Do you trust in God the Father and Mother?
All: I believe in God, the Father almighty,
creator of heaven and earth.
Do you follow Jesus Christ?
I believe in Jesus Christ, God’s only Begotten, our Lord,
who was conceived by the Holy Spirit,
born of the Virgin Mary,
suffered under Pontius Pilate,
was crucified, died, and was buried;
On the third day he rose again;
he ascended into heaven,
he is seated at the right hand of the Father,
and he will come to judge the living and the dead.
Do you live by the Holy Spirit?
I believe in the Holy Spirit,
the holy universal Church,
the communion of saints,
the forgiveness of sins,
the resurrection of the body,
and the life everlasting. Amen.
Thanksgiving over the Water
The Spirit of the Lord is among us.
The blessing of the Lord is upon us!
Let us pray. Loving, life-giving God, we give you thanks,
for in the beginning your Spirit brooded over the waters
and you brought forth Creation.
You brought us to freedom through the waters of the Red Sea.
You gave us new birth through baptism into Christ,
and gave us life that cannot die.
The river of God is full of water,
the river of the water of life,
bright as crystal, flowing from the heart of God.
We who are baptized into Christ Jesus
are baptized into his life,
born in the water of a womb;
we are baptized into his ministry,
giving water to the thirsty,
washing the feet and sharing the tears of all who suffer;
and we are baptized into his death,
so that just as Christ was raised by the glory of God,
we too might walk in newness of life.
Born of water and the Spirit,
may we enter into the Realm of God
as children of God,
born not of human will, but of God.
Pour out your Holy Spirit in this water
and bless her who receives it,
that claimed by your Word, nourished in your grace,
washed from all sin and borne by your Spirit,
she may live in freedom, trust and courage,
sharing in the eternal life of Christ.
Emily Anne, you are God’s Beloved,
in whom God is well pleased.
All reverence and delight is yours,
infinite and loving God, now and forever.
All praise to you, Eternal Father and Mother,
Son and Holy Spirit,
in the present moment and in eternity. Amen!
… Baptism with Laying on of Hands …
Let us welcome our new sibling in Christ.
Emily, Child of God, claimed by water and the Spirit,
you are joined to God’s new creation.
We are one in Christ Jesus,
sharing in Christ’s royal priesthood.
With joy and thanksgiving
we welcome you as a member of Christ’s church.
God bless you now and in eternal life. Amen.
(10:30) SONG Baptism Song Jenn Berry
Baptized by water, filled with the spirit,
cleansing our being, flowing with grace:
praise for the promise and the forgiveness
love freely given, growing in faith.
Joined as one village, God is our shepherd.
Lead us and guide us on the right path.
Nourish the seed of faith planted in us,
bearing the fruit of beauty and love.
Woven together, each one is sacred;
all are God’s children, light of the world.
One in the Father, Son and the Spirit,
we are your praise, God, we are your Word.
THE PRAYERS OF THE PEOPLE
[Anyone who wishes may share a prayer concern at the microphone.]
THE PRAYER OF JESUS
Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name.
Your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as in heaven.
Give us today our daily bread.
Forgive us our sins as we forgive those who sin against us.
Save us from the time of trial and deliver us from evil.
For the kingdom, the power and the glory are yours,
now and forever. Amen.
SHARING THE PEACE OF CHRIST
_____We Are Sent in Ministry to the World____
OFFERING OUR GIFTS
Savior, Like A Shepherd Lead Us Tune: BRADBURY, arr: Charity Book Putnam
* OFFERING SONG Doxology Blue hymnal #95
Gracious God, in gratitude for all you have given us we give you our lives, symbolized in these gifts. Receive them with love, bless them with grace and use them according to your will. Shepherd us by your gentle Word; lead us to follow you and to do your will, for the sake of the world, in the name of Christ. Amen.
THE LIFE OF THE CHURCH IN THE WORLD
* SONG Lead Me, Guide Me Black hymnal #2214
* THE BLESSING AND SENDING FORTH
RESPONSE We stand and sing to our neighbors:
May the grace and peace of Christ be with you my friends.
Go and share the love of God, love that never ends.
POSTLUDE Andantino in G Henry Smart
[During the postlude there are people ready to pray with you at the candles in the corners.]