This Week’s Theme
The Good Shepherd
Jesus of Nazareth explained his relationship to his true disciples as the Good Shepherd. He used this figure of speech, although many did not understand what he was saying to them. As rabbi, he taught his disciples that the one who does not enter the sheepfold by the door but climbs in by another way is a thief and a robber. The one, however, who enters by the door is the shepherd of the sheep. Jesus said that to the shepherd the gatekeeper opens, and that the sheep hear his voice, he calls his own sheep by name, and then leads them out.
The true shepherd, according to Jesus, brings out all his own, goes before them, and the sheep follow him, for they know his voice. The sheep will not follow strangers, but will rather flee from them, for they do not know the voice of strangers. To help them better understand, Jesus again said to them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, I am the door of the sheep. All who came before me are thieves and robbers, but the sheep did not listen to them. I am the door. If anyone enters by me, he will be saved and will go in and 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.” Jesus of Nazareth is truly the Good Shepherd, who laid down his life for his sheep.
Preparing Our Hearts
Invocation: Our Prayer of Acclamation
Eternal God our Father, whose only Son declared himself to be the Good Shepherd who laid down his life for his own, thank you for your love and compassion. Your great love allowed you to give him a commandment to come and ransom us, and he, without fail or condition, agreed. We are yours because of your love and his obedience. We bask in your great love, and thank you for all you are to us, and all you have done for us. In Jesus’s name we pray, amen.
Call to Worship
Blessed are you, O God: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. And blessed is your Kingdom, both now and forever, amen.
Praising Our God
Te Deum Laudamus
You are God: we praise you; you are the Lord; we acclaim you; you are the eternal Father: All creation worships you. To you all angels, all the powers of heaven, Cherubim and Seraphim, sing in endless praise: Holy, holy, holy Lord, God of power and might, heaven and earth are full of your glory.
The glorious company of apostles praise you. The noble fellowship of prophets praise you. The white-robed army of martyrs praise you. Throughout the world the holy Church acclaims you; Father, of majesty unbounded, your true and only Son, worthy of all worship, and the Holy Spirit, advocate and guide.
You, Christ, are the king of glory, the eternal Son of the Father. When you became man to set us free you did not shun the Virgin’s womb. You overcame the sting of death and opened the kingdom of heaven to all believers. You are seated at God’s right hand in glory. We believe that you will come and be our judge. Come then, Lord, and help your people, bought with the price of your own blood, and bring us with your saints to glory everlasting.
Praise and Thanksgiving (songs and prayers)
Glory be to the Father,
And to the Son and to the Holy Spirit:
As it was in the beginning,
Is now, and ever shall be,
World without end. Amen, amen.
Listening to His Voice
Chronological Reading for the Day
Thursday: 1 Kings 12; 2 Chron. 10.1-11.17
Psalm: Ps. 23
Acts*: Acts 2.42-47
Gospel: John 10.1-10
NT: 1 Pet. 2.19-25
(Click here for all readings)
*During Eastertide, a reading from Acts is often substituted for the lesson from the Hebrew Bible.
Reflection: Silence and/or Journaling
Responding in Faith
The Apostles’ Creed
I believe in God, the Father Almighty, Maker of heaven and earth; and in Jesus Christ, his only Son, our Lord, who was conceived by the Holy Spirit, born of the Virgin Mary, suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, dead, and buried; he descended into hell; the third day he arose again from the dead; he ascended into heaven and sits on the right hand of God the Father Almighty; from thence he shall come to judge the quick and the dead.
I believe in the Holy Spirit, the holy catholic* church, the communion of saints, the forgiveness of sins, the resurrection of the body, and the life everlasting. Amen.
*In the Apostles’ and Nicene Creeds, the term catholic refers to the Church’s universality, through all ages and times, of all languages and peoples. It refers to no particular tradition or denominational expression (e.g., as in Roman Catholic).
Prayers of Confession
Let us now confess our sins to God and receive mercy and grace to help in our time of need.
Assurance of Pardon
Having faithfully confessed and renounced your sin, Christ also has been faithful to forgive your sins and to purify you from all unrighteousness. It is certain, that there is One who has spoken to the Father in your defense, Jesus Christ, the Righteous One who is the atoning sacrifice for our sins and for the sins of the whole world. His grace and peace are with you now. Amen.
Petitions and Supplications, Ending with The Lord’s Prayer
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 debts, as we forgive our debtors. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil: For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever. Amen.
~ Matthew 6.9-13 (KJV)
Doxology (and/or closing song)
Praise God from whom all blessings flow;
Praise Him all creatures here below;
Praise Him above ye heavenly host;
Praise Father, Son and Holy Ghost. Amen.
Departing to Serve
Lord Jesus, who is the door of the sheep, the good shepherd who laid his life down for the sheep, thank you for making a way for us to relate to and enjoy your Father, the Lord God Almighty. All who came before you we declare to be both thieves and robbers, and we as your sheep will listen to no one else but you. You are the door, and we enter by faith through you alone. Save us, let us go in and out and find pasture, and protect us from the thief who seeks to steal and kill and destroy. We entrust ourselves to you, for you came that we might have life, and have it abundantly. Lead us into your perfect will. In your name we pray, amen.
Affirmation for the Day
All who came before Jesus were thieves and robbers, those who did not care for the spiritual well being of those he would call to himself.
Pray without Ceasing – Flash Prayer for the Day
Lord Jesus, Savior and Lord, like a shepherd lead us into your pastures green, protect us from those who would prey upon us, and gather us all into one flock and fold.
For Your Weekly Journey
Let God Arise! Seasonal Focus
You Will Not Abandon My Soul, Psalm 16
Barrett, None Greater