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Worship for Sunday 3rd May 2020 Easter 4A

Thank you for sharing in our worship as we worship at home.


Opening prayer

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.


Reading 1: Acts 2: 42-47


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.

Hymn 1

Take this moment, sign, and space; take my friends around; here among us make the place where your love is found.

Take the time to call my name, take the time to mend who I am and what I've been, all I've failed to tend.

Take the tiredness of my days, take my past regret, letting your forgiveness touch all I can't forget.

Take the little child in me, scared of growing old; help me here to find my worth made in Christ's own mould.

Take my talents, take my skills, take what's yet to be; let my life be yours, and yet, let it still be me.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7EFbMwM4 aWo


Prayers of confession


The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want.

But, O Lord, we are consumed with wanting more.

He makes me lie down in green pastures;

he leads me beside still waters; he restores my soul.

But, O Lord, other pastures seem greener.

The waters aren’t always still.

Our souls still thirst.

He leads me in right paths for his name’s sake.

O Lord, we long to be led by you, though we may complain along the path.

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.

And yet, O God, we do sometimes fear.

May we feel your presence, your comfort and your forgiveness anew.

You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies;

you anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows.

O God, sometimes we refuse to sit down at your table.

Forgive us and help us to see your overflowing mercy.

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.

Forgive us, God, and lead us into your house.


Reading 2: Psalm 23



The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want. He makes me lie down in green pastures; he leads me beside still waters; he restores my soul. He leads me in right paths for his 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.


Reflection


The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want. He makes me lie down in green pastures; he leads me beside still waters; he restores my soul. He leads me in right paths for his name’s sake.


That’s the third time you’ve heard or read those lines in the space of about 3 minutes. How many of us know those lines intimately, having heard them hundreds of times either at Church or at funerals. And yet the idea of God and Jesus for that matter being our shepherd doesn’t really ring true for many of us unless we come from a rural background.


Each day the shepherd leads out the sheep to the best pastures and every evening brings them home to a place of safety. The sheep may well meet other flocks of sheep during the day but at the end they always return to the shepherd. When we think about the 23rd Psalm in this we see that it is a picture of safety, identity and belonging.


The image presented in the book of Acts is of a group who felt they belonged together and found a deeper meaning in meeting together. Something that we at the moment are unable to do, but it’s important to note that the early Church meetings were informal and they were very different from those around them and so their community continued to grow as people saw something that made sense in a world that seemed to make little. They understood who they were because of the events of Easter.


The question that this leaves us is ‘Who are we?’ We can no longer meet, and we no longer worship as a community. Does that change anything? Yes and no. Yes, in that it only changes that we no longer gather as a community. But community is more than just a group pf people. Like sheep put into quarantine for an illness, wee miss the others but that doesn’t stop the Shepherd from caring for us. Indeed, the Psalmist reminds us that though we walk through the valley of the darkest shadow (an apt analogy if ever there was one) we are still under God’s care and he will not abandon us. In fact, he will go out his way to find us, consider the parable of the lost sheep.


We will get through this. It may take some time, but we will be a flock again. And then together we can say:


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.


Prayers of intercession

Let us pray to the Lord, who is our refuge and stronghold.

For the health and well-being of our nation, that all who are fearful and anxious may be at peace and free from worry:

Lord, hear us,

Lord, graciously hear us.

For the isolated and housebound, that we may be alert to their needs, and care for them in their vulnerability:

Lord, hear us,

Lord, graciously hear us.

For our homes and families, our schools and young people, and all in any kind of need or distress:

Lord, hear us,

Lord, graciously hear us.

For a blessing on our local community,

that our neighbourhoods may be places of trust and friendship, where all are known and cared for:

Lord, hear us,

Lord, graciously hear us.

We commend ourselves, and all for whom we pray, to the mercy and protection of God. Merciful Father, accept these prayers for the sake of your Son, our Saviour Jesus Christ.

Amen.

We say together the prayer that Jesus taught his disciples: Our Father, which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy Name.

Thy Kingdom come.

Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread.

And forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive them that trespass against us. And lead us not into temptation,

But deliver us from evil.

For thine is the kingdom, The power, and the glory, For ever and ever.

Amen.

Hymn 2


The King of love my shepherd is, whose goodness faileth never; I nothing lack if I am his and he is mine for ever.

Where streams of living water flow my ransomed soul he leadeth, and where the verdant pastures grow with food celestial feedeth.

Perverse and foolish oft I strayed, but yet in love he sought me, and on his shoulder gently laid, and home rejoicing brought me.

In death's dark vale I fear no ill with thee, dear Lord, beside me; thy rod and staff my comfort still, thy cross before to guide me.

Thou spread'st a table in my sight; thy unction grace bestoweth; and O what transport of delight from thy pure chalice floweth!

And so through all the length of days thy goodness faileth never: Good Shepherd, may I sing thy praise within thy house for ever.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YcCwUF 0s_-Y


Closing prayers


O Lord, our Shepherding God, come close to us now.

Come near us in our time of need. 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 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, thank you for your son who lay down his life for those who follow him and for those who are not in the fold yet.

Shepherding God, renew us, guide us with your love and renew us with your peace. Amen


Credits

Opening prayer – John Birch https://reworship.blogspot.com/2013/08/prayer-lord-we-wouldfollow-you.html?spref=tw

Prayers of intercession - https://www.churchofengland.org/more/mediacentre/coronavirus-covid-19-guidanceparishes/coronavirus-covid-19-liturgy-and-prayer

Closing prayers - https://reworship.blogspot.com/2014/04/prayer-ourshepherding-god.html?spref=tw

Bible Readings - New Revised Standard Version Bible:

Anglicized Edition, copyright © 1989, 1995 National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide. http://nrsvbibles.org

Hymn 1 – Take this moment

John L. Bell (b. 1949) and Graham Maule (b. 1958)

Reproduced from Singing the Faith Electronic Words

Edition, number 513

Words and Music: From Love from Below © 1989, WGRG, Iona Community, Glasgow G2 3DH Scotland. www.wgrg.co.uk

Hymn 2 – The King of Glory my shepherd is

Henry Williams Baker (1821–1877)

Reproduced from Singing the Faith Electronic Words Edition, number 479.

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