Fourth Sunday of Easter
Today we honor the Risen Lord as our Good Shepherd. We pray that God will make us a Kingdom of priests for God his Father, formed in the image of the Good Shepherd. All glory and power to him forever and ever!
+ In the Name of the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Amen.
Safe in your hand, O God, is the flock you shepherd through Jesus your Son. Lead us always to the living waters where you promise respite and refreshment, that we may be counted among those who know and follow you. We ask this through Jesus Christ, the resurrection and the life, who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, God for ever and ever.
“Song for the Nations” – Kwasizabantu Combined Choir
A Reading from the Acts of the Apostles: Acts 13:14, 43-52 (NLT)
[Paul and Barnabas visit Antioch, where their message is received with joy by the Gentiles.]
But Paul and Barnabas traveled inland to Antioch of Pisidia.
On the Sabbath they went to the synagogue for the services.
Many Jews and devout converts to Judaism followed Paul and Barnabas, and the two men urged them to continue to rely on the grace of God.
The following week almost the entire city turned out to hear them preach the word of the Lord. But when some of the Jews saw the crowds, they were jealous; so they slandered Paul and argued against whatever he said.
Then Paul and Barnabas spoke out boldly and declared, “It was necessary that we first preach the word of God to you Jews. But since you have rejected it and judged yourselves unworthy of eternal life, we will offer it to the Gentiles. For the Lord gave us this command when he said,
‘I have made you a light to the Gentiles, to bring salvation to the farthest corners of the earth.’”
When the Gentiles heard this, they were very glad and thanked the Lord for his message; and all who were chosen for eternal life became believers. So the Lord’s message spread throughout that region.
Then the Jews stirred up the influential religious women and the leaders of the city, and they incited a mob against Paul and Barnabas and ran them out of town. So they shook the dust from their feet as a sign of rejection and went to the town of Iconium. And the believers were filled with joy and with the Holy Spirit.
A Reading from the Psalms: Psalm 100:1-2, 3, 5 (NLT)
Shout with joy to the Lord, all the earth! Worship the Lord with gladness. Come before him, singing with joy.
Acknowledge that the Lord is God! He made us, and we are his. We are his people, the sheep of his pasture.
For the Lord is good. His unfailing love continues forever, and his faithfulness continues to each generation.
Psalm 100 – Rene Clausen – laFilia sings (Erwitte2015)
A Reading from the Revelations of John: Revelation 7:9, 14b-17 (NLT)
[John’s vision of people persecuted for their faith being rewarded in heaven.]
After this I saw a vast crowd, too great to count, from every nation and tribe and people and language, standing in front of the throne and before the Lamb. They were clothed in white robes and held palm branches in their hands.
Then he said to me, “These are the ones who died in the great tribulation. They have washed their robes in the blood of the Lamb and made them white.
“That is why they stand in front of God’s throne and serve him day and night in his Temple. And he who sits on the throne will give them shelter. They will never again be hungry or thirsty; they will never be scorched by the heat of the sun. For the Lamb on the throne will be their Shepherd. He will lead them to springs of life-giving water. And God will wipe every tear from their eyes.”
A Reading from the Gospels: John 10:27-30 (NLT)
[Jesus is the shepherd whose voice the sheep listen to.]
My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me. I give them eternal life, and they will never perish. No one can snatch them away from me, for my Father has given them to me, and he is more powerful than anyone else. No one can snatch them from the Father’s hand. The Father and I are one.”
Spiritual Song: “Shepherd” – Brave New World // Amanda Cook
Good Shepherd: you care for all who hear your voice and follow you. Attend to us now, as we pray.
+ That all those who lead your people may follow the example of Christ, the good shepherd…. Lord, hear us.
+ That young people may hear your call to serve God’s people in ministry throughout the world…. Lord, hear us.
+ That Christians in Africa may bear witness to their faith in Christ — even in times of war…. Lord, hear us.
+ That believers who face persecution today, especially in the Middle East, may have courage…. Lord, hear us.
+ That all who gather for worship today in assemblies throughout the world, may care for each other…. Lord, hear us.
+ That those around us who are in any kind of need may have the tender support of our love…. Lord, hear us.
+ That our friends and family who have died in Christ may be given a place before the Throne of Glory…. Lord, hear us.
O God, your loving care brings us safe through the trials of life, hear our prayers through Christ our Lord. Amen.
Hymn: “Resurrection Sunday Dance, Budapest, Hungary – Music Videos” – Jennie Lee Riddle
On April 4, 2010, over 1,300 young people, all of them members of Faith Church celebrated Resurrection Sunday in Budapest, Hungary. (Sorry, I didn’t know how to embed video. Please click on link above; God bless.)
To him who loves us and has freed us from our sins by his blood and made us a kingdom, priests to his God and Father, to him be glory and dominion forever and ever. Amen. (Revelation 1:5-6)
+ In the Name of the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Amen