Fourth Sunday of Easter Worship Service | 4-30-23

St. Peter’s Evangelical Lutheran Church 

4TH SUNDAY OF EASTER

04-30-2023     10:00AM “Hybrid” Worship

+   WE ANNOUNCE THE EASTER VICTORY   +

OPENING RITE FOR EASTER 4:

L   The Fourth Sunday of Easter – full of images of sheep and shepherds – is often called “Good Shepherd Sunday”.

In today’s gospel Jesus calls himself the “gate” of the sheep.

In a world of wolves and thieves that would do us great harm,

and of uncommitted and phony shepherds that would do us no good…

C We proclaim that we are the Lord’s people, we are the sheep of God’s flock! 

L   In a life’s journey confronted by so many closed, locked doors along the way,

challenged by detours and dead ends,

and faced with the seemingly one-way door offered by the cold reality of death at the very end…

C We proclaim that Jesus is the door, the way, the gate to abundant life!

L   Beneath and above all the other voices that you hear in this life, voices that speak loud and conflicting messages,

voices that beckon to us to follow, and that seek to lure us down other paths…

C We want to identify and know, trust and follow only the voice of Jesus Christ!

He is the one who has laid down his life for us, who loves us sacrificially! ALLELUIA!

OPENING SONG: “Savior, Like a Shepherd Lead Us”           Tan #424

CELEBRATION OF NEW LIFE IN CHRIST:      

L   Sisters and brothers, Jesus knows his own and his own know him. Through his death and resurrection you have been forgiven, born anew, and given life in abundance, life that does not end with death. Only by God’s grace, we are Easter people, always rising! I invite you to celebrate the presence, the peace, the power, and the promises of Jesus Christ by making the sign of the cross on your forehead, saying, and believing —

Receive [+] the sign of the cross. Because HE died, YOU are alive!

SONG OF PRAISE:    

“Lord, I lift your name on high, Lord, I love to sing your praises.

I’m so glad you’re in my life, I’m so glad you came to save us.

You came from heaven to earth to show the way;

from the earth to the cross, my debt to pay;

from the cross to the grave, from the grave to the sky; Lord, I lift your name on high!”

THE PRAYER OF THE DAY:    

Good Shepherd, I listen for your voice in good times and bad, in sickness and in health, in joy and in sorrow. Open the gate for me, that I may come and go freely, walk the right paths of daily life, and experience your promise of true, abundant, and eternal life.  Amen.

+   WE PROCLAIM GOD’S SAVING WORD   +

FIRST READINGACTS 2:42-47   [People of the Good Shepherd – leaning on love and learning to love!]

2:42 They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers.

2:43 Awe came upon everyone, because many wonders and signs were being done by the apostles.

2:44 All who believed were together and had all things in common;

2:45 they would sell their possessions and goods and distribute the proceeds to all, as any had need.

2:46 Day 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,

2:47 praising God and having the goodwill of all the people. And day by day the Lord added to their number those who were being saved.

SECOND READING:  1 PETER 2:19-25   [[People of the Good Shepherd – blessing God in spite of unjust suffering!]

2:19 For it is a credit to you if, being aware of God, you endure pain while suffering unjustly.

2:20 If 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.

2:21 For to this you have been called, because Christ also suffered for you, leaving you an example, so that you should follow in his steps.

2:22 “He committed no sin, and no deceit was found in his mouth.”

2:23 When 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.

2:24 He 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.

2:25 For you were going astray like sheep, but now you have returned to the shepherd and guardian of your souls.

GOSPEL VERSE

“Oh, how He loves you and me. Oh, how He loves you and me.

He gave His life, what more can He give?

OH, HOW HE LOVES YOU; OH, HOW HE LOVES ME;

OH, HOW HE LOVES YOU AND ME!

Jesus to Calv’ry did go, His love for this world to show.

What He did there brought hope from despair…”

THE HOLY GOSPELJOHN 10:1-10   [People of the Good Shepherd – saved, free, alive!]

10:1 Very truly, I tell you, anyone who does not enter the sheepfold by the gate but climbs in by another way is a thief and a bandit.

10:2 The one who enters by the gate is the shepherd of the sheep.

10:3 The gatekeeper opens the gate for him, and the sheep hear his voice. He calls his own sheep by name and leads them out.

10:4 When he has brought out all his own, he goes ahead of them, and the sheep follow him because they know his voice.

10:5 They will not follow a stranger, but they will run from him because they do not know the voice of strangers.”

10:6 Jesus used this figure of speech with them, but they did not understand what he was saying to them.

10:7 So again Jesus said to them, “Very truly, I tell you, I am the gate for the sheep.

10:8 All who came before me are thieves and bandits; but the sheep did not listen to them.

10:9 I am the gate. Whoever enters by me will be saved, and will come in and go out and find pasture.

10:10 The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly.”

THE SERMON:         Pastor Gwen or Pastor Neil

SONG SELECTION: All Saints Choir

A CONFESSION OF OUR FAITHPSALM 23   [We are guided, nurtured, protected, and promised!]

The Lord is my shepherd: I shall not want.

He makes me to lie down in green pastures: he leads me beside still waters.

He restores my soul: he leads me in the paths of righteousness for his name’s sake.

Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil:

for you are with me; your rod and staff, they comfort me.

You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies:

you anoint my head with oil; my cup runs over.

Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life:

and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.

THE PRAYERS…  We pray that all people might be transformed by the GOOD NEWS of Easter!

+   We Share God’s Nourishing Meal   +

OFFERING   [Christ opens our hearts and our hands to believe and to share through our gifts and our daily lives!]

SONG SELECTION: All Saints Choir

THE OFFERTORY SONG: “Get all excited, go tell ev’rybody that Jesus Christ is King!    [sing this line 3 times]

  Jesus Christ is still the King of kings, the King of kings!”

OFFERING PRAYER led by the Communion Assistant:     

     O God, it is only by your amazing grace that we are Easter-alive today! We dedicate our gifts and our lives to drying tears and sharing good news of peace. Make us bold and eager witnesses to others of NEW LIFE IN CHRIST.  Amen. 

THE PREFACE…  We prepare to celebrate the LORD’S SUPPER with humble joy!

L   The Lord be with you.   C   And also with you.

  L   Lift up your hearts!   C   We lift them up in love for God!

  L   Let us give thanks to the Lord our God.   C   It is right to give God our thanks and praise.

L   The Lord delivers us from sin and death…   C   … and grants us salvation and eternal life!

L   [continues the Preface]… we praise your name and join their unending hymn:

C   [singing…]   “Holy, holy, holy, holy,

    holy, holy, Lord God Almighty!

    and we lift our hearts before you as a token of our love,

    holy, holy, holy, holy.

    Precious Jesus, precious Jesus,

    We’re so glad that you redeemed us, precious Jesus…

    Holy Spirit, Holy Spirit,

    come and fill our hearts anew, O Holy Spirit…”

THE EUCHARISTIC WORDS by the Celebrant, who recalls and re-enacts Jesus’ Holy Meal.

THE LORD’S PRAYER

COMMUNION AND BLESSINGSAll believers in Jesus Christ are welcome at the Lord’s Table! 

COMMUNION SONGS:               Tan #686               Tan #307               Tan #321

THE COMMUNION BLESSING by the Celebrant after all have communed.

POST-COMMUNION PRAYER by the Communion Assistant.        

+   WE ARE SENT TO SHOW AND TELL   +

THE BENEDICTION  Leave with a message upon your heart, on your lips, and revealed through your daily living!

Go in the faith-filled power of the Risen Lord (+) to love God and to serve your neighbor in all that you do.

CLOSING SONG: “O How I Love Jesus”                                     Tan #291

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