Focus: “Being deeply loved by someone gives you strength, while loving someone deeply gives you courage.” ― Lao Tzu
Threshold Moment: A Time for Centering
Call To Worship:
Leader: With grace flowing, the poet sings the opening lines of the famous prayer, “The Lord is my shepherd. I shall not want.”
People: We hear the Psalmist’s contentment and wonder about our own.
Leader: Settled on the ground, with grass tickling their toes, the psalmist rests, “God makes me lie down in green pastures. She leads me beside still waters. She restores my soul.”
People: We hear their deep need for rest and wonder about our own.
Leader: With a deep sigh, the psalmist declares, “Even though I walk through the darkest valley, I fear no evil; for you are with me. You prepare a table before me. You anoint me. My cup overflows.
People: We recognize their bold courage and wonder about our own.
Leader: Remembering God’s faithfulness, the psalmist finds words to carry with them, “Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life, and I will dwell in the house of the Lord my whole life long.”
People: We hear their faithful trust and wonder about our own.
Leader: Holy Spirit of Rest and Renewal, in this time of worship inspire us with words both ancient and new so that we may find the words that connect us to You.
People: Amen and amen.
Gathering Music: Shepherd Me, O God (by Marty Haugen)
Holy One, we hear the comforting ancient poetry of the psalmist but wonder, is it true?
Will you really provide for what we need?
Will you bring us to a place of rest?
Will you protect us from enemies? We confess that rather than being only filled with holy wonder, we are sometimes filled with skepticism at the ancient words. We may count the times when we didn’t feel provided for or protected from danger.
We count the times we could not catch a break when we desperately needed it. So Holy One, shepherd our busy minds back to the here and now, help our spirits forgive the grudges we hold, and invite us to experience You as truly present.
In these moments of quiet, offer us rest for a moment. Amen.
Opening Hymn: Servant Song (by Richard Gillard)
Readings and Scripture: 1 John 4:7–21, John 10:11-18
Sermon: Servant Leadership Rev. Paula Norbert
Music: Meditative Instrumental ~ Come and Find the Quiet Center/Make Me A Servant (by Shirley Erena Murray/Kelley Willard) -Michelle Currie
Celebration of the Lord’s Supper
Words of Invitation The Bread and The Cup
Prayer of Thanksgiving
Musical call to Prayer: (two times) Hush now in quiet peace, be still your mind at ease. The Spirit brings release, so wait upon the Lord.
Prayers of the People:
Closing Music: Blest Be the Ties that Bind -Michelle Currie
As you depart from this place, go with courage and go with trust that the God who created you is also the One who will sustain you and the One who will show you the way.
Until we meet again, may you be filled with curiosity, wonder, and openness to God’s tender leading. Amen and amen.
Postlude: Go In Peace
Our Readings for Today
1 John 4:7-21 God Is Love
7 Beloved, let us love one another, because love is from God; everyone who loves is born of God and knows God. 8 Whoever does not love does not know God, for God is love. 9 God’s love was revealed among us in this way: God sent his only Son into the world so that we might live through him. 10 In this is love, not that we loved God but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the atoning sacrifice for our sins. 11 Beloved, since God loved us so much, we also ought to love one another. 12 No one has ever seen God; if we love one another, God lives in us, and his love is perfected in us.
13 By this we know that we abide in him and he in us, because he has given us of his Spirit. 14 And we have seen and do testify that the Father has sent his Son as the Savior of the world. 15 God abides in those who confess that Jesus is the Son of God, and they abide in God. 16 So we have known and believe the love that God has for us.
God is love, and those who abide in love abide in God, and God abides in them. 17 Love has been perfected among us in this: that we may have boldness on the day of judgment, because as he is, so are we in this world. 18 There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear; for fear has to do with punishment, and whoever fears has not reached perfection in love. 19 We love[a] because he first loved us. 20 Those who say, “I love God,” and hate their brothers or sisters,[b] are liars; for those who do not love a brother or sister[c] whom they have seen, cannot love God whom they have not seen. 21 The commandment we have from him is this: those who love God must love their brothers and sisters[d] also.
11 “I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep. 12 The hired hand, who is not the shepherd and does not own the sheep, sees the wolf coming and leaves the sheep and runs away—and the wolf snatches them and scatters them. 13 The hired hand runs away because a hired hand does not care for the sheep. 14 I am the good shepherd. I know my own and my own know me, 15 just as the Father knows me and I know the Father. And I lay down my life for the sheep. 16 I have other sheep that do not belong to this fold. I must bring them also, and they will listen to my voice. So there will be one flock, one shepherd. 17 For this reason the Father loves me, because I lay down my life in order to take it up again. 18 No one takes[a] it from me, but I lay it down of my own accord. I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it up again. I have received this command from my Father.”