Listen to My Voice

Living the Resurrection

Fourth Sunday of Easter, Year B

The real question for us today is not, “Will God speak to me, to us today?” Instead, will we listen for that voice that is speaking? Jesus doesn’t say, “Listen and maybe I’ll have something to say.” He says, “Listen to my voice.” “I am speaking” is the implied message, so pay attention.

The text we have chosen to focus on is the continuation of the good shepherd image. It begins earlier in the chapter and talks more there about listening to the voice of the shepherd. You might consider a review of the text, or simply expand the text when you read it to get the full flavor of the idea. Listening to the shepherd is key to understanding the image. Following flows from hearing the voice that we recognize. The ability to recognize comes from getting to know the one we seek to follow. This enables us to sort out the voices that we hear calling us this way and that and to discern which one is most like the voice of Christ.

This text does, then, deal with those outside the flock and says they need to listen to the voice of the shepherd too. This means that we are called to speak in that voice. We are called to reflect the voice that we follow in our speaking and our living. We are that voice at work in the world.

So, our worship this day is about hearing and about speaking. A part of what we might want to speak about is creation care. This Sunday is also the “Festival of God’s Creation.” So, emphasis could be given to environmental issues. Worship is not the place to have a lesson on creation care, and, far worse, a debate. But what you can do is raise the issue as a part of our obedience to God to be stewards of all creation. Click here to get some further information that might be shared with the congregation and from which you might develop some liturgy.

Sometimes to listen to the voice of the Creator God we must listen to voices within creation. What is creation saying about our stewardship? What peoples are being harmed by our misuse of the resources of creation? What would God have to say to us today? That is our guiding thought as we approach worship on this fourth Sunday of Easter.

Easter 4: Call to Worship III

(with allusions to Psalm 23, John 10 and I Peter 2)

We gather together to worship God,
the Shepherd of our souls.
The one who has created us,
who sustains us,
who redeems us,
who walks beside us in good times and bad,
and who calls us to follow.
This is our God!
Let’s worship Him together!

Worship Resources for Good Shepherd Sunday, https://re-worship.blogspot.com/2011/05/worship-resourches-for-may-15-2011.html.

Call to Worship

(inspired by Psalm 23, John 10)

I AM the good shepherd
(the one who tends us,
guides us into pastures,
who recognizes the sounds of our names).

I AM the good shepherd
(the one who bends to heal us
travels through the deepest valleys with us
who gives up everything for us all).

I AM the good shepherd
(the one whose rod and staff comfort us
whose strength and love holds us
whose cup of love runneth over).

I AM the good shepherd
and we will dwell
in the house of the Lord
forever

Let us gather here
God’s People
in God’s love
for God’s world.

Posted on the New Kilpatrick Parish Church website. https://www.nkchurch.org.uk/ Reposted: https://re-worship.blogspot.com/2017/04/call-to-worship-i-am-good-shepherd.html.

Prayer of Confession

O God who labors without ceasing, to bring all people into wholeness and into oneness with you, we confess our reluctance to live in unity with all your people. Help us to overcome the scandal of our pride – the pride of race, creed, class, and color – that your church might be a worthy witness to your good news of love and forgiveness, through Jesus Christ, our risen Head. Amen.

Ruth Duck, Bread for the Journey, Ruth Duck, ed., Pilgrim Press, 1981, p.46.

Prayer of Confession

Gentle Shepherd, You guide us in right paths, You lead us in the ways of righteousness, but we have allowed our anger, our rage, our greed, and at times even hate, to direct our paths. We have overreacted, we have taken more than our share, we have despised others that seem to have it all. Forgive us, God, for not following Your ways. Forgive us for not remembering that we are Your sheep, and You are our Shepherd. Forgive us when we have not listened for Your voice and instead have acted in the ways of the world. Guide us back to Your path, to loving You and loving our neighbors. Help us to unclench our fists and lend out our hands in hope and healing, forgiveness and love. In the name of Christ our Shepherd we pray. Amen.

Assurance of Pardon

The Good Shepherd lays down his life for the sheep. The Good Shepherd knows the sheep, and the Good Shepherd lays down his life for the sheep so that the sheep may live. We are part of the flock; we are part of Christ’s body. In Christ we find wholeness and restoration. Go forth and share this Good News. Amen.

Rev. Mindi Welton-Mitchell, Rev-o-lution.org: Reposted: https://re-worship.blogspot.com/2011/05/easter-4-confession-assurance.html.

Commission and Benediction

(based on Psalm 23, John 10, 1 John 3:16-24)

Go now with your trust in the good shepherd,
and let us love, not just in words,
but in truth and action.
Believe in the name of Jesus Christ,
and love one another, just as he has commanded us.

And may God be at your side, even in valleys of death.
May Christ Jesus be the cornerstone of your life.
And may the Holy Spirit abide in you
. . . and tend you with love and mercy all the days of your life.

We go in peace to love and serve the Lord,
. . . In the name of Christ. Amen.

Copyright © 2003 Nathan Nettleton LaughingBird.net Reposted: https://re-worship.blogspot.com/2012/04/benediction-for-easter-4.html.

Prayer of Thanksgiving

O God,
We thank you for this earth, our home;
for the wide sky and the blessed sun,
for the ocean and streams,
for the towering hills and the whispering wind,
for the trees and green grass.

We thank you for our senses
by which we hear the songs of birds,
and see the splendor of fields of golden wheat,
and taste autumn's fruit,
rejoice in the feel of snow,
and smell the breath of spring flowers.

Grant us a heart opened wide to all this beauty;
and save us from being so blind
that we pass unseeing
when even the common thorn bush
is aflame with your glory.

For each new dawn is filled with infinite possibilities
for new beginnings and new discoveries.
Life is constantly changing and renewing itself.
In this new day of new beginnings with God,
all things are possible.
We are restored and renewed in a joyous awakening
to the wonder that our lives are and, yet, can be. Amen.

Written by Walter Rauschenbusch (1861-1918). Posted: https://re-worship.blogspot.com/search/label/Creation%20care (Follow this link for lots more “creation care” ideas for worship).

In This Series...


Easter Sunday, Year B - Lectionary Planning Notes Second Sunday of Easter, Year B - Lectionary Planning Notes Third Sunday of Easter, Year B - Lectionary Planning Notes Fourth Sunday of Easter, Year B - Lectionary Planning Notes Fifth Sunday of Easter, Year B - Lectionary Planning Notes Sixth Sunday of Easter, Year B - Lectionary Planning Notes Seventh Sunday of Easter, Year B - Lectionary Planning Notes

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In This Series...


Easter Sunday, Year B - Lectionary Planning Notes Second Sunday of Easter, Year B - Lectionary Planning Notes Third Sunday of Easter, Year B - Lectionary Planning Notes Fourth Sunday of Easter, Year B - Lectionary Planning Notes Fifth Sunday of Easter, Year B - Lectionary Planning Notes Sixth Sunday of Easter, Year B - Lectionary Planning Notes Seventh Sunday of Easter, Year B - Lectionary Planning Notes