Fourth Sunday of Easter

April 30, 2023 

Because of a local festival which prevents people from easily reaching the church building, the service on the last Sunday of Easter is always shortened and often lay-led.

The Lord is my shepherd.
I have all that I need.
He lets me rest in green meadows.
He leads me beside peaceful streams.
He renews my strength.
He guides me along right paths, bringing honor to his Name.
Even when I walk through the darkest valley, I will not be afraid, for you are close beside me.
Your rod and your staff protect and comfort me.
You prepare a feast for me in the presence of my enemies.
You honor me by anointing my head with oil. My cup overflows with blessings.
Surely your goodness and unfailing love will pursue me all the days of my life.
And I will live in the house of the Lord forever.
—Psalm 23 (NLT)

Lord Jesus Christ, you are the Good Shepherd of the sheep. You seek the lost and lead your flock into the fold. Feed us, we pray, with your word. Satisfy us with your wisdom. Heal us, that we may find wholeness in you. And guide us by your gentle Spirit, that we might spend eternity in God’s house. This we pray in your Name.

Hear, O God, the prayer we offer:
not for ease that prayer shall be,
but for strength that we may ever
live our lives courageously.

Not forever in green pastures
do we ask our way to be;
but the steep and rugged pathway
may we tread rejoicingly.

Not forever by still waters
would we idly rest and stay;
but would smite the living fountains
from the rocks along our way.

Be our strength in hours of weakness,
in our wanderings be our guide;
through endeavor, failure, danger,
be the Shepherd at our side.
—Love M. Willis 
[A silence is kept for personal concerns.]

Our prayers we offer in Jesus’ Name.

As we part company today, let us remember that God is our Guide and our Provider. May each of us be led to places of sustenance and healing during the week to come. In difficult times, may we find rest for our souls. And in all that we say and do, may we honor God’s Name.

Let us pray.
Holy Shepherd, we thank you that you love us and that you have called each of us by name. In the days to come, lead us safely through all the situations of life. Help us to hear your voice and follow your path. And when our work is done, bring us to your house, where we may celebrate life with you forevermore. We pray this in your Name.