Gathering God’s People
Call to Worship
(based on Psalm 23 and John 10)
We gather together in the presence of our Shepherd God,
who calls us each by name,
who restores our souls,
who leads us in the way of righteousness,
and whose goodness and love never stops pursuing us.
This is the God who is always with us, this is the God we worship!
Welcome and Opening Prayer
Scripture Reading – Psalm 23
1 The Lord is my shepherd, I lack nothing.
2 He makes me lie down in green pastures,
he leads me beside quiet waters,
3 he refreshes my soul.
He guides me along the right paths
for his nameâ€™s sake.
4 Even though I walk
through the darkest valley,
I will fear no evil,
for you are with me;
your rod and your staff,
they comfort me.
5 You prepare a table before me
in the presence of my enemies.
You anoint my head with oil;
my cup overflows.
6 Surely your goodness and love will follow me
all the days of my life,
and I will dwell in the house of the Lord
Space for Grace
O God, our great shepherd,
you tenderly gather us as lambs,
carrying us with your all-embracing love.
Yet, like sheep, we wander from you:
following our own ways, ignoring your voice,
distrusting your provisions.
Forgive our stubborn rebellion, our hardened hearts, our lack of trust.
Refresh us once again by your quiet waters of mercy
and restore our souls by your redeeming love.
Guide our paths, that we might follow you more closely. . .
Through Jesus Christ, our good shepherd, we pray. Amen.
Hearing God’s Word – John 10: 11-18
11 â€œI am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep. 12 The hired hand is not the shepherd and does not own the sheep. So when he sees the wolf coming, he abandons the sheep and runs away. Then the wolf attacks the flock and scatters it. 13 The man runs away because he is a hired hand and cares nothing for the sheep.
14 â€œI am the good shepherd; I know my sheep and my sheep know meâ€” 15 just as the Father knows me and I know the Fatherâ€”and I lay down my life for the sheep. 16 I have other sheep that are not of this sheep pen. I must bring them also. They too will listen to my voice, and there shall be one flock and one shepherd. 17 The reason my Father loves me is that I lay down my lifeâ€”only to take it up again. 18 No one takes it from me, but I lay it down of my own accord. I have authority to lay it down and authority to take it up again. This command I received from my Father.â€
Responding to God’s Word
- Take time to consider what it looks like to allow Jesus to be your shepherd today.
- How have you experienced following Jesus leading you to love others? How might God be leading you to love in these days?
We encourage you to continue your faithful support of Centralâ€™s ministry in these days. Checks can be mailed to Centralâ€™s office (501 S. 4th St Springfield, IL 62701) or you can make an online donation by clicking here:
Sending God’s People
As you prepare to shelter in place and be the church, may this prayer attributed to St. Patrick assure that God is with you and goes with you:
I arise today
Through the strength of heaven;
Light of the sun,
Splendor of fire,
Speed of lightning,
Swiftness of the wind,
Depth of the sea,
Stability of the earth,
Firmness of the rock.
I arise today
Through Godâ€™s strength to pilot me;
Godâ€™s might to uphold me,
Godâ€™s wisdom to guide me,
Godâ€™s eye to look before me,
Godâ€™s ear to hear me,
Godâ€™s word to speak for me,
Godâ€™s hand to guard me,
Godâ€™s way to lie before me,
Godâ€™s shield to protect me,
Godâ€™s hosts to save me
Afar and anear,
Alone or in a multitude.
Christ shield me today
Christ with me, Christ before me, Christ behind me,
Christ in me, Christ beneath me, Christ above me,
Christ on my right, Christ on my left,
Christ when I lie down, Christ when I sit down,
Christ in the heart of everyone who thinks of me,
Christ in the mouth of everyone who speaks of me,
Christ in the eye that sees me,
Christ in the ear that hears me.
I arise today
Through the mighty strength
Of the Lord of creation.
- We are incredibly grateful to hear about the ways you are supporting and connecting with one another during these times and caring for your neighbors. Please keep calling, messaging, emailing, and checking in on one another!
- Our National Executive Council and the members of the Regional Executive Ministers Council have issued a Call to Prayer for 21 days spanning from March 21 to April 11. Find out more here: https://www.abc-usa.org/2020/03/american-baptist-leaders-issue-call-to-prayer/?fbclid=IwAR1R-ML8nBKbMWffiRyJe7lQ2PIvGyDHregxB0GfpErmRkPvpacoDc3PlPw
- Zoom is a great tool for creating virtual to help foster meet-ups for classes, small groups, and other gatherings. With a free account you can host a 40 minute video meeting for up to 99 people. More information at https://zoom.us/
- Conversatio Divina: A Center for Spiritual Renewal has a series of meditations on their website on sayings of Jesus among other great exercises. On this page they have a mediation on Jesus’ declaration that he is the good shepherd: https://conversatio.org/exercise-room-series/jesus-said-meditations/