May 3, 2020 — Fourth Sunday of Easter

PRELUDE                                                   Hear My Prayer                                                  FELIX MENDELSSOHN
                                                         Lauren Nash Silberstein, Flute

 

INTROIT                                               God is Calling Through the Whisper                                     W ZLOBIE LEZY

1 God is calling through the whisper
of the Spirit's deepest signs,
through the thrill of sudden beauties 
that can catch us by surprise.
Flash of lightning, crash of thunder;
hush of stillness, rush of wonder:
God is calling — can you hear?
God is calling — can you hear?

 

CALL TO WORSHIP

The Shepherd calls us by name and leads us to abundant life.
We hear your voice and hasten to follow.
The Shepherd prepares a table and lavishly pours out grace. 
We hear your invitation and take our place at the feast.
The Shepherd gathers us in and welcomes us to the house of the Lord.
We hear your call and give you praise. 

 

HYMN NO. 802                                          The King of Love My Shepherd Is                              DOMINUS REGIT ME

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

 

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

 

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

 

6 And so through all the length of days
thy goodness faileth never;
Good Shepherd, may I sing thy praise
within thy house forever. 

 

 

CONFESSION AND ASSURANCE OF GOD'S GRACE

CALL TO CONFESSION

Do you hear the voice of our Shepherd? Christ calls us to abandon wayward wanderings, and return to the caring arms of the One who safeguards our souls. Beginning with honest confession, let us respond to our Shepherd's call. 

PRAYER OF CONFESSION

We have gone astray, O Shepherd. You call us to follow, and we hear your voice. Yet, we choose to heed other voices — voices that promise status and comfort and a carefree life. But such promises are empty, and that life does not satisfy. Call to us again, O Shepherd. Summon us onto right paths to pursue justice in your name, to seek after the well-being of all. Lead us to the table you prepare for us — where rivals share both bread and blessings and discover there is enough for all. 

SILENT REFLECTION

ASSURANCE OF PARDON

God leads us beside still waters that restore our souls; God leads us to living waters that restore our souls. Surely goodness and mercy shall follow us all our days, and we shall live in the Lord's house forever. 

 

 

ANTHEM

Öffne dich, mein ganzes Herze,                  Open, my whole heart
Jesus kömmt und ziehet ein.                      Jesus comes and enters within.
Bin ich gleich nur Staub und Erde,             Though I am only like dust and earth,
Will er mich doch nicht verschmähn,          he does not want to scorn me, 
Seine Lust an mir zu sehn,                         but to see his pleasure in me,
Daß ich seine Wohnung werde.                 so that I become his dwelling.
O wie melig werd ich sein!                         O how blessed I shall be!

 

 

PRAYER FOR ILLUMINATION

Living God, with joy we celebrate the presence of your risen Word. Enliven our hearts by your Holy Spirit so that we may proclaim the good news of eternal and abundant life; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

 

 

SCRIPTURE

Acts 2:42–47 (NRSV)

42They devoted themselves to the apostles' teaching and fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers. 
Life among the Believers
43Awe came upon everyone, because many wonders and signs were being done by the apostles. 44All who believed were together and had all things in common; 45they would sell their possessions and goods and distribute the proceeds to all, as any had need. 46Day 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, 47praising God and having the goodwill of all the people. And day by day the Lord added to their number those who were being saved. 

 

Psalm 23

Psalm 23 from Matthew Skolnik on Vimeo.

 

1 Peter 2:19–25 (NRSV)

 

19For it is a credit to you if, being aware of God, you endure pain while suffering unjustly. 20If you endure when you are beaten for doing wrong, what credit is that? But if you endure when you do right and suffer for it, you have God's approval. 21For to this you have been called, because Christ also suffered for you, leaving you an example, so that you should follow in his steps. 

22"He committed no sin, and no deceit was found in his mouth."

23When he was abused, he did not return abuse; when he suffered, he did not threaten; but he entrusted himself to the one who judges justly. 24He 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. 25For you were going astray like sheep, but now you have returned to the shepherd and guardian of your souls. 

 

John 10:1–10 The Message (MSG)

 

1–5"Let me set this before you as plainly as I can. If a person climbs over or through the fence of a sheep pen instead of going through the gate, you know he's up to no good — a sheep rustler! The shepherd walks right up to the gate. The gatekeeper opens the gate to him and the sheep recognize his voice. He calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. When he gets them all out, he leads them and they follow because they are familiar with his voice. They won't follow a stranger's voice but will scatter because they aren't used to the sound of it." 

6–10Jesus told this simple story, but they had no idea what he was talking about. So he tried again. "I'll be explicit, then. I am the Gate for the sheep. All those others are up to no good — sheep stealers, every one of them. But the sheep didn't listen to them. I am the Gate. Anyone who goes through me will be cared for — will freely go in and out, and find pasture. A thief is only there to steal and kill and destroy. I came so they can have real and eternal life, more and better life than they ever dreamed of. 

 

SERMON                                                            We Are Never Alone                                          Rev. Chris Stewart

 

AFFIRMATION OF FAITH

New life in Christ takes shape in a community in which people know that God loves and accepts them in spite of what they are. They therefore accept themselves and love others, knowing that no one has any ground on which to stand, except God's grace. Adapted from the Confession of 1967, 9.22. 

 

PRAYERS OF INTERCESSION

We offer our prayers Through Christ,
who lives and reigns forever, 
and prays for us in heaven. 
Lord, in your mercy, hear our prayer.

 

Through Christ, we pray for the church...
Help us to follow Christ more faithfully,
heeding the voice of our good shepherd 
and inviting others to enter into him.
Lord, in your mercy, hear our prayer.

 

Through Christ, we pray for the earth...
Restore green pastures and still waters;
drive away death and lead us in right paths,
for the sake of the world you so love.
Lord, in your mercy, hear our prayer.

 

Through Christ, we pray for all nations...
Increase goodwill among all peoples.
Show us what we have in common
and give us a shared vision of abundant life.
Lord, in your mercy, hear our prayer.

 

Through Christ, we pray for this community...
Give us glad and generous hearts,
sharing our faith, our bread, and our possessions
with all who are hungry for your grace.
Lord, in your mercy, hear our prayer. 

 

Through Christ, we pray for loved ones...
Shelter all who are threatened and abused,
give peace to those who are suffering,
and comfort to those who are in pain.
Lord, in your mercy, hear our prayer.

 

God of all power and glory, receive these prayers,
and continue your mighty work among us,
through Jesus Christ our living Lord. Amen. 
Ephesians 1:15–23

 

INVITATION TO OFFERING

How does God's love abide in anyone who has the world's goods yet refuses to help a sister or brother in need? Remembering God's great love for the world, let us offer our lives to the Lord. 1 John 3:16–17

 

OFFERING

Your finance committee encourages you to continue your stewardship support by mailing contributions to Westminster Presbyterian Church, 353 E. Pine St, Wooster, OH 44691, Attn: Financial Secretary.

 

PRAYER OF DEDICATION

Great God, to you we give our thanks; your steadfast love endures forever. With gratitude we bring our gifts to you. Bless us and our gifts, that our lives and our resources may be a source of healing and hope, of joy and justice in our world. Amen.

 

HYMN NO. 473                                                   Shepherd Me, O God                                              SHEPHERD ME

Soloist to sing verses, congregation to sing refrain. 

 

1 God is my shepherd, so nothing shall I want;
I rest in the meadows of faithfulness and love;
I walk by the quiet waters of peace.

 

2 Gently you raise me and heal my weary soul;
you lead me by pathways of righteousness and truth;
my spirit shall sing the music of your name.

 

3 Though I should wander the valley of death,
I fear no evil, for you are at my side.
Your rod and your staff, my comfort and my hope.

 

4 You have set me a banquet of love in the face of hatred,
crowning me with love beyond my power to hold.

 

5 Surely your kindness and mercy follow me all the days of my life;
I will dwell in the house of my God forevermore. 

 

INVITATION TO THE LORD'S TABLE

GREAT THANKSGIVING

The Lord be with you. And also with you. 
Lift up your hearts. We lift them to the Lord.
Let us give thanks to the Lord our God.
It is right to give our thanks and praise.

 

Blessed are you, O Lord our God: 
You are our shepherd, O Lord, and in you there is nothing we lack.
You lead us to green pastures and still waters; you restore our souls.
You prepare a table before us; the cup of blessing overflows! 
Therefore we praise you, joining the song of the universal church and the heavenly choir:

 

Holy, holy holy Lord,
God of power and might,
Heaven and earth are full of your glory.
Hosanna in the highest.

 

Blessed is the one who comes in your name.
Hosanna in the highest.

 

Blessed is Jesus Christ, our Savior:
We are the sheep of your pasture, and Christ Jesus is the gate.
He came that we might have life, and have it abundantly.
Therefore we listen for his voice and seek to follow him. 

 

Remembering your goodness and grace, 
we offer ourselves to you with gratitude
as we share this joyful feast.

 

Dying, you destroyed our death,
Rising, you restored our life.
Lord Jesus, come in glory.

 

Pour out your Holy Spirit upon this bread and cup;
make us one in the body and blood of Jesus Christ our Lord.

 

Like the first believers, fill us with the awe and wonder of your presence,
through your teaching and fellowship, the breaking of bread and prayer.
Help us to share what we have and give to those who are in need.

 

Through the Lord Jesus Christ, 
in the unity of the Spirit, 
we bless you, God of glory, now and forever. 
Amen.

 

THE LORD'S PRAYER

Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come, thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread; and forgive us our sins, as we forgive those who sin against us; and lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil. For thine is the kingdom and the power and the glory, forever. Amen. 

 

BREAKING THE BREAD

Because there is one loaf, 
we, many as we are, are one body;
for it is one loaf of which we partake.

 

When we break the bread,
is it not a sharing in the body of Christ?

 

When we give thanks over the cup,
is it not a sharing in the blood of Christ?

 

COMMUNION OF THE PEOPLE

 

PRAYER AFTER COMMUNION

Thank you, O God, for giving us communion
with our risen and glorious Lord.
Now send us out to be a sign
of the new life that has come into the world;
through Jesus Christ our Savior. Amen.

 

HYMN NO. 740                                                 Lead Me, Guide Me                                         LEAD ME, GUIDE ME

Lead me, guide me, along the way,
for if you lead me, I cannot stray.
Lord, let e walk each day with thee.
Lead me, O Lord, lead me.
I am weak and I need
your strength and power to help me
over my weakest hour.
Help me through the darkness your face to see.
Lead me, O Lord, lead me. 

 

BLESSING AND CHARGE

May the love of the holy triune God —
Father, Son, and Holy Spirit —
abide with you forever. Alleluia! 

1 John 4:13–16

 

Now go forth in Jesus' name,
remembering his new commandment
to love one another, just as he has loved us. Amen. 

1 John 3:23

 

POSTLUDE                                                      Domine Deus                                                        ANTONIO VIVALDI

 

Thank you to those who participated in the creation of this worship service:

Joel Chupp
Janelle Collier
Gracie DeLollis 
Ken Shafer
Lauren Nash Silberstein
Rev. Chris Stewart
Barbara Tartir
Pong Thiemmedh
Lauren Nash Silberstein, soprano (and flutist), graduated from The Eastman School of Music with a Master's in Performance and Literature. Performances there include the academic premiere as Soprano 1 in Ricky Ian Gordon's The Tibetan Book of the Dead and Franca Naccarelli in The Light in the Piazza. At OLO 2019 she was Liat in South Pacific and Cinderella's Mother in Into the Woods. In addition to OLO, she has sang roles with Opera Saratoga, Hubbard Hall Opera Theatre, and Tri-Cities Opera. Upcoming roles include Julie Jordan in Carousel and Casilda in The Gondoliers as she returns to The Ohio Light Opera in summer 2021. 
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