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We Recognize the Voice of The Good Shepherd

Gathering Music
"We Are the Church," 558, United Methodist Hymnal

Gathering Call (cheer led by the youth with pom-poms)
Youth: We are the church,
The mighty, mighty church!
Everywhere we go-o,
People want to know-o,
Who we a-re,
What we do-oo,
So we tell them:
We are the ch-urch,
The mighty, mighty, ch-urch!

Leader: We are the church, the mighty, mighty church!
We were built on Christ the Solid Rock.
The Good Shepherd called us into this place, name by name.

Youth: We are the church,
The mighty, mighty church!
Everywhere we go-o,
People want to know-o,
Who we a-re,
What we do-oo,
So we tell them:
We are the ch-urch,
The mighty, mighty, ch-urch!

Leader: We recognize the voice of The Good Shepherd
who walks with us and talks with us.
We recognize the voice of The Good Shepherd
who is the guardian of our souls.
We recognize the voice of The Good Shepherd
who leads us in the path of righteousness.
We recognize the voice of The Good Shepherd
who picks us up from the squalor, brushes us off,
bids us to straighten up and fly right!
We recognize the voice of The Good Shepherd
who has made it possible for us to have it all,
even if we have nothing.
His peace gives us abundant life. And so we say with joy:

Youth, congregation, and leader:
We are the church,
The mighty, mighty church of Christ!
Everywhere we want people to know just how much He loves you and me!

Special Music With Dance to "The Good Shepherd" by James Cleveland (cassette) or "Because He Lives," 364, United Methodist Hymnal
(An easy to use sacred dance resource with step-by-step illustrations is Dancing Through the Christian Calendar by Sylvia B. Bryant. Bryant is a nationally renowned, African American liturgical dance artist who danced for the Festival 2000 Bicentennial Program at the 1984 General Conference in Baltimore.)

Invocation
Oh God, you are a mighty God! Nothing is as great as you. You overturn evil. You hand out justice and blessings. For you, the impossible is possible. You can even make those who died live again!

When you brought back Jesus from the dead, you did so to show us just how powerful you are and how much you love us. You sent The Good Shepherd to show us the way to please you. You sent The Good Shepherd to show us how to love one another. You returned him from the dead to show us that you forgive our cowardliness and cruelty. We know you expect more from us.

Continue to guide us, O Mighty God. Do not take your hand from us. Send into our lives people who are like angels to keep watch over us, to keep us from harming others or being harmed. Make us your angels. Make us one people with all the world, united by the blood and love of the Good Shepherd, Jesus Christ. Amen.

Sermon Thoughts: "A Shepherd's Work"

  • What is a shepherd? A person who tends, guides and guards sheep, especially in a flock that is grazing; a pastor.
  • Who have been shepherds in my life? Examples.
  • Is the church called to shepherding? Indeed, that's its main job.
    • Getting grazing sheep into the fold [baptism] and nurturing them to be strong, faithful, able, and eager to tend other sheep (especially those not in God's fold), giving us the assurance that the main Shepherd will never leave us and will indeed lead us into eternity [faithful discipleship].
    • Making sure people are spiritually, physically, emotionally, and intellectually fed.
    • Teaching people how to graze safely and protecting them when they stray.
    • Giving the directions that come from the Good Shepherd.
    • Showing the people love.
    • Appreciating the Good Shepherd and the Creator of The Good Shepherd with praise and service.

Call to Altar Prayer
"Hush, Hush, Somebody's Callin' Mah Name," 100, Songs of Zion

Hymn Suggestions

  • "Savior, Like a Shepherd Lead Me," 381, United Methodist Hymnal
  • "At the Cross," 8, Songs of Zion
  • "Blessed Assurance," 369, United Methodist Hymnal
  • "He Leadeth Me," 128, United Methodist Hymnal
  • "He Is Lord" (Prayer Response), 177, United Methodist Hymnal
  • "Softly and Tenderly Jesus Is Calling," 348, United Methodist Hymnal (Invitation to Christian Discipleship)
  • "I'm So Glad Jesus Lifted Me" (Closing Hymn), 2151, The Faith We Sing

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Sherrie Boyens-Dobbs is a Conference Approved Evangelist, the Assistant Dean of the New Brunswick Theological Seminary, and a clergy member of the Greater New Jersey Annual Conference.

"21st Century Africana Worship Resources the Fourth Sunday of Easter" Copyright © 2005 the Rev. Sherrie Boyens Dobbs. Used with permission.

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