Rev. Liz Goodman
Good Shepherd Sunday
Here are liturgy, scripture, and sermon for the 4th Sunday of Eastertide. If you'd like to recite the liturgy along with a recording of it, you can stream it here.
Call to Worship Psalm 23 Adapted
One: The Lord is our shepherd; we shall not want.
All: He makes us lie down in green pastures;
One: he leads us beside still waters;
All: he restores our souls.
One: He leads us in paths of righteousness for his name’s sake.
All: Even when we walk through the valley of the shadow of death
we fear no evil;
One: for God is with us.
All: His rod and staff— they are a comfort to us.
Lord prepares a table before us even in the presence of enemies;
All: God anoints us with oil;
One: our cups overflow.
All: Surely goodness and mercy shall follow us
all the days of our lives.
One: And we shall dwell in the house of the Lord forever.
Let us pray.
Prayer of Invocation (in unison)
Gracious God, in whom we live and move and have our being, on this Good Shepherd Sunday, we celebrate that in you we have found guidance we can trust, care we can rely on, patience and watchfulness that is our salvation—though we hesitate about what this seems to imply about us. If you are as our shepherd, then we are as sheep. Yet how? Are we simple followers? Are we stubborn and shortsighted? Are we so very unable to take care of ourselves?
Or are we as livestock who are only kept for our usefulness? Are we brought up just for sacrifice or for slaughter? Have we no worth other than this?
We confess this transactional way of thinking is so often our mindset: we confess that we often assess others for what use they will serve rather than for the wonder of their being, while we esteem ourselves for what we’ve accomplished or condemn ourselves for what we’ve failed to accomplish. In this world, at this moment, when so much of our work lives have fallen away, there is fresh shame, refreshed insistence that we must get back to the grind lest we be thought lazy or left destitute.
There is no easy solution to our public lives now in peril while also our personal lives collapse amidst isolation and ennui.
Bolster us, then, with your insistence that simply by virtue of us being at all, you love us, you gather us into your safe hold, and you lead us out where we find sustenance and calm. Reassure us of faithfulness and your essential love, and help us to take this moment to reimage this realm in which we also live and move, that it might more truly reflect and manifest your bounty of love and grace.
In Christ our shepherd, who means to lead us out to green pasture and still water, we pray. Amen.
Here is a song with which to complete your worship.