Lectionary -- Easter 4 Year B
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Acts 4:5-12 Peter and John before the high priest
Psalm 23 The Lord is my shepherd
1 John 3:16-24 Let us love, not in word and speech, but in truth and action
John 10:11-18 I am the good shepherd

Suggested Hymns (From Denis Towner. TIS = Together in Song; AHB = Australian Hymn Book; SA = Sing Alleluia)

Acts 4: 5-12
Christ is made the sure foundation TIS.432 AHB.343
Christ is our cornerstone TIS.433 AHB.344
Jesus, the name high over all TIS.218 AHB.150
The Church's one foundation TIS.457 AHB.385

Psalm 23
The Lord's my shepherd, I'll not want TIS.10 AHB.16
The Lord is my shepherd and I want to follow TIS.659
The Lord is my shepherd, there is nothing I shall want TIS.11 AHB.98
Thuma mina (Send me, Jesus) TIS.749

1 John 3: 16-24
Abide with me, fast falls the eventide TIS.586 AHB.502
All the sleepy should have a place to sleep TIS.697
I come with joy to meet my Lord TIS.533 AHB.452
Love is his word, love is his way TIS.534 AHB/CS.601
This is my will, my one command TIS.641 AHB.401

John 10: 11-16
How sweet the name of Jesus sounds TIS.223 AHB.158
Jesus, where'er your people meet TIS.445 AHB.372
Saviour, like a shepherd lead us SFGP.93
The king of love my shepherd is TIS.145 AHB.81

Other Possible Hymns
(Numbers refer to The Australian Hymn Book and Sing Alleluia.)
11 (TIS 83) Let us with a gladsome mind
139 (TIS 211) Jesu, lover of my soul
191 (TIS 246) Christ is the world's light

re alternative theme on creation
3 (TIS 100 All creatures of our God and King
70 (TIS 135) All things bright and beautiful
77 (TIS 137) For the beauty of the earth
82 (TIS 146) God who made the earth
91 (TIS 156) Morning has broken
518 From thee all skill and science flow
540 Father eternal, ruler of creation

Sermon summary (Click here for complete sermon)

The Good Shepherd

Jesus said, (John 10:11) I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep.

Do mothers model the Good Shepherd? You might wonder whether the positive emphasis of "Life in all its fulness" or even "Abundant life" (John 10:10) might not be a better text for Mother's Day, but then when you think about it, "the Good Shepherd who lays down his life for the sheep" (John 10:11) might also have something to do with motherhood which does have some elements of sacrifice in it, sometimes indeed an enormous amount of sacrifice.

What makes the Good Shepherd good? The true shepherd is known by his willingness to lay down his life for the sheep (John 10:11-15). It was at the heart of the identity of Jesus as the Good Shepherd. His love is known from his willingness to sacrifice for them, and that comes from the fact that the sheep belong to him (John 10:12,14-15). (Compare Solomon's judgment 1 Kings 3:16-28 and the suffering servant in Isaiah 53:8,10).

While there is more to the sacrifice of the Good Shepherd than a good example, there is something to be learned too from the model of a shepherd for all in positions of shepherding in church and society. Traditionally people in positions of responsibility of this kind include teachers, managers, governing authorities, priests, parents, and elders. We all have to act at one time or another as the shepherd looking out for and leading on behalf of someone else and it will involve sacrifice (Luke 9:23-24).

In contrast we there are today plenty of people in positions with the power to affect the welfare of others to whom the warnings that Jesus gave about thieves and robbers apply. Exploitation of the weak by the powerful is an ancient wrong, and, of course, a modern blight (Ezekiel 34:2-5.7-10; Jeremiah 23:1-4; Zechariah 11:15-17). Out of such oppression, God promised to lead people himself (Ezekiel 34:11). That is the role that God have to Jesus, his son, who was God incarnate, to seek and save those who are lost (Luke 19:10). That was the purpose of his sacrifice. It was more than a good example. It was necessary because there was evil in the world . It was the saving way of the suffering servant Lord, the Good Shepherd. (Hebrews 13:20-21).

Summary of alternative topical sermon (click here for complete alternative sermon)

Creation: Faith and Science

I begin with my belief confessed in the Apostles Creed: I believe in God, the Father almighty, creator of heaven and earth. For our purposes today it does not really matter whether you say Father or Mother; and indeed 'mother' would make good sense because one meaning of 'create' is 'to give birth'. The idea that 'heaven and earth', the whole universe visible and invisible, all that we call 'creation', all came from another being is the essential idea.

We are concerned today with how things began and came to be as they are today, and the two topics of general interest are cosmology and evolution. When we read the creation stories in Genesis we are reading an account from which, with the help of other believers, we can learn something of God and his relationship with us and the world we live in. When we compare present day scientific accounts with Genesis we do see some similarities. The basic idea of a beginning time and of development by stages from it, with the higher animals and humankind appearing in the last stage is there. That is the general view of science. Do we need to get tangled up in silly questions about whether the universe is only 6000 years old instead of the billions that scientific observations show it to be? We still praise God for the wonder of it all as did the Psalmist [eg. Ps 8 and 104]. My answer to atheist writers and entertainers like Phillip Adams is simply that if you don't have good religion will have bad religion. People are going to believe in something, and if you don't give them good stuff they will consume rubbish.

We consider two apparently quite different ideas about the nature of God from two eminent scientists. Doherty says God is love and he believes in such a God. Davies says he believes reluctantly in a god that underpins and guarantees the order found in nature. These ideas come together in Jesus Christ, who is the Word through whom it was all made and in whom we share in its completion and perfection. [See John 1:3-4; 1 John 4:7-9; Colossians 1:15-16.]

Order of Service - Easter 4 Year B - | DB Home | RCL Resources Index |

The Gathering of the People of God

CALL TO WORSHIP Jesus said: I am the good shepherd. I know my own and my own know me, -- John 10:14
Let us gather as members of the one flock with the one shepherd, our Lord Jesus Christ. Praise to you, Lord Jesus Christ.

HYMN Jesus, where'er your people meet TIS 445 AHB 372

PRAYER OF ADORATION (Adapted from the Methodist Covenant Service, 1936)
Let us pray. Let us adore God.

We worship and adore you, God of love who created us; who every moment preserves and sustains us; who has loved us with an everlasting love, and given us the light of the knowledge of your glory in the face of Jesus Christ.
We praise you, O God, we acknowledge you to be the Lord.

We glory in the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ; who though he was rich, yet for our sakes became poor; who went about doing good and preaching the Gospel of the Kingdom; who was tempted in all points as we are, yet without sin; who became obedient unto death, even the death on the cross; who was dead and is alive for evermore; who opened the Kingdom of Heaven to all believers; who now lives and reigns in the glory of the Father.
You are the King of Glory, O Christ.

We rejoice in the fellowship of the Holy Spirit, the Lord and Giver of life, by whom we are born into the family of God, and made members of the Body of Christ; whose witness confirms us; whose wisdom teaches us; whose power enables us; who waits to do for us exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or imagine.
All praise to you, O Holy Spirit.

CONFESSION [in three parts concluding: Lord have mercy. Lord have mercy.
Christ have mercy. Lord have mercy
Lord have mercy. Lord have mercy.

The good news is that all who trust in Christ will have their sins forgiven and receive eternal life. As you hold this faith, I declare that you are set free from all your sins in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, to whom be glory for ever and ever.
Thanks be to God.

DOXOLOGY: Glory to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit.
As it was in the beginning, is now, and will be for ever. Amen.


Service of the Word

INTRODUCTION OF THEME: Easter continues, or special theme on creation.
NT READING: Acts 4:5-12 Peter and John before the high priest
GOSPEL John 10:11-18 I am the good shepherd
HYMN The Lord's my shepherd [PSALM 23] TIS 10 AHB 16
[OLD TESTAMENT for the alternative sermon:- Genesis 1:1 to 2:3 The creation of the world ]


HYMN The king of love my shepherd is TIS 145 AHB 81
Choir: As the deer pants for the water
SHARING TIME [Notices, celebrations, requests for intercessions]

Thanksgiving: The Lord be with you. And also with you.
Lift up your hearts. We lift them to the Lord.
Let us give thanks to the Lord our God.
It is right to give our thanks and praise.

We give you thanks, O God, for revealing your power in the creation of the universe, and for your providence in the life of the world; for men and women ...
... we bless your holy name good Lord. Amen.

O merciful Creator, your hand is open wide to satisfy the needs of every living creature: make us always thankful for your loving providence; and grant that we, remembering the account that we must one day give, may be faithful stewards of your good gifts; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

[We pray also for special needs in the church and the world, for mothers, and all who share in the work of the Good Shepherd.]

For Families:
Almighty God, our heavenly Father, whose Son Jesus Christ shared at Nazareth the life of an earthly home: bless our homes, we pray. Help parents to impart the knowledge of you and your love; and children to respond with love and obedience. May our homes be blessed with peace and joy; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen

O God, Creator and Father, you show the risen Lord resplendent in glory whenever healing is bestowed in his name upon the infirmity of our human condition. Gather your scattered children into the unity of one family, so that, following closely after Christ our good shepherd, we may taste the joy of being your children. We ask this through your Son, our Lord Jesus Christ. Amen.

THE LORD'S PRAYER [Front of the Hymn Book]

The Sending Forth of the People of God

HYMN The Church's one foundation TIS 457 AHB 385
Now may the God of peace, who brought back from the dead our Lord Jesus, the great shepherd of the sheep, by the
blood of the eternal covenant, make you complete in everything good so that you may do his will, working among us that
which is pleasing in his sight, through Jesus Christ, to whom be the glory forever and ever. And the blessing of God, the Father, the Son and Holy Spirit be with you.  Amen.
DISMISSAL Go in peace to love and serve the Lord:
In the name of Christ. Amen.

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