Fourth Sunday in Lent

March 19, 2023

Jesus said: I am the light of the world.
Whoever follows him will never walk in darkness but will have the light of life.
Jesus said: I am the good shepherd.
The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep.
Jesus said: I am the vine, you are the branches.
If we abide in him and he in us, we will bear much fruit.
Let us worship God in Jesus’ Name.
—John 8:12, 10:11, 15:5

Lord Jesus Christ, you are the Good Shepherd of the sheep.
You have sought us and guided us into your fold.
Feed us this morning with the bread of life.
Restore us to wholeness,
and bring us into your presence
through word and music, prayer and fellowship.
This we pray in your Name. Amen.

We thank you, O Lord, that are our shepherd. You provide for us. And all our blessings come from you. For those miracles that seem to come directly from your hand, we praise you. But for most of the blessings in our lives that come to us through the kindness or the hard work of our neighbors, we are most grateful. For the miracles of life that are made possible because of the labor of someone thousands of miles away, we thank you too seldom. But we pause now to pray for all those who make our lives easier— for all those who make our lives possible.
We thank you for your guidance in our lives. We thank you for your presence in prayer. We thank you for your word. And we are most grateful for the body of Christ. Too often we take our church family for granted. But here and now, O Lord, we pause to thank you for all the ways we find our way because of the love of others, and because of their prayers for us.
We praise you, O great God, for the protection you place over us at all times. Though we bless you for the mountaintop experiences when faith is firm and the way ahead clear, we are especially thankful when we feel you near us in the valleys, when the mist obscures the vision we once had of you. Continue to lead us with your guiding staff, even as your rod fends off the wolf at our heel.
May your goodness and mercy pursue us down the path on which you lead us, and may we dwell forever with you in the Kingdom of love and peace and perfect justice. This we pray in the Name of the Good Shepherd himself, even Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
We praise and thank you, Eternal God,
for you are the only constant in an ever-changing world.
Accept these gifts, we pray, and bless them
that they may help us minister to others.
Grant us the wisdom to love, the strength to serve, and the courage
to speak your words in Jesus’ Name and for his sake. Amen.

As we part company today, may the strength of God pilot you, may the wisdom of God instruct you, may the hand of God protect you, may the word of God direct you; and may the salvation of God—Father, Son, and Holy Spirit—be yours this day and always. Amen.
—based on a blessing of Patrick of Ireland