Fourth Sunday of Easter C, April 17, 2016

Acts 9:36-43
Psalm 23:1-6
Revelation 7:9-17
John 10:22-30


A brief personal note: this text in Revelation I used in my sister’s eulogy after her death of alcoholism years ago. It had also been used at her baptism. Needless to say it is a very moving text for me. It has been an interesting week to write. 

CALL TO WORSHIP
One: Oh Lord and Savior, we are still living into your resurrection life.
All: Your Spirit revives us, the sheep of your flock and the lambs of your fold. 
One: Wash us anew that we may sing your praises with the heavenly voices above. 
All: May we hear your voice anew today, be known by you, and follow you always. 

OPENING PRAYER
Gracious God, today we come into your presence grateful that from before we begin until after we end, we know that we are yours. We lift up our voices today joining the heavenly throng singing “Blessing and glory and wisdom and thanksgiving and honor and power and might be to our God forever and ever!” May today we be your resurrected people. Amen. 

 CALL TO CONFESSION
Let us now bow in humility before our great shepherd confessing our sins and laying our souls bare. 

PRAYER OF CONFESSION
Oh Holy One, you are always with us, guarding our days, and you know when we stray away, when we step out of turn, when we do wrong or turn the other way. Forgive us for not following your path. Help us to understand what it means to be washed by you, led by you, and to set about following you. Lord in your mercy, please forgive us. 

ASSURANCE OF PARDON
Dear ones, the Lord knows you, loves you, and anoints your head with oil until your cup overflows. Know that, even before you finish asking, your sins are forgiven. Now go forth, following the shepherd with a clean heart, and do his will. Amen. 

CALL TO THE OFFERING
Our cups overflow with the abundance that we have been given. Let us now bring forth our tithes and offerings that more good will come of these gifts. 

PRAYER OF DEDICATION
Our shepherd, we your sheep gather together behind you. Please take these gifts we have brought forth today and help us use them to care for your other sheep. May your fold and kingdom be renewed and strengthened. 

INVITATION TO THE TABLE
Our Psalm today says “you prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies.”  This is not an easy table. It is not just for our friends or those with whom we are comfortable. This is the Lord’s table for all the sheep. This is the house of the Lord in which we are called to dwell. Come and receive the bread of life and overflowing cup of salvation. 

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