Fourth Sunday of Easter: Called to Live
PRELUDE: Centering in Life. Rev. Alejandra Zareth
Friends, We continue to gather in celebration-mode because: Christ is Risen – Risen Indeed! Halleluiah We want to always start our time with a deep connection to your own breath. Feel your body adapt to the welcoming of air that sustains your blood cells and feeds all your internal organs… Breathing deeply… As you welcome the air in, welcome wisdom & God’s love that wants to strengthen every part of your being. I want to share that from my cultural tradition we have ceremonies that honor what are known as 7 directions 1. East – where the sun rises and so we welcome new beginnings 2. West – the place of expanse, the setting sun, & letting go 3. North – where fire & ice collide and where compasses point 4. South – the land warmed by the sun that is of our ancestors 5. Above – the home of the moon, stars & sun which maps our destiny 6. Below – the resting place of our ancestors and motherland of us all 7. Center - this space where’ in, a space of reflection & where we get to dwell in heart, body, & mind to the Divine.
As you think of your place in the world – with your perspective as your center… I invite you to hear the psalmist’s reflections on his center what the psalmist noticed:
Psalm 10:25 – In the beginning you laid the foundations of the earth, and the heavens are the work of your hands.
Psalm 19:1 – The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of his hands.
Psalm 24 –The earth is the Lord’s, and everything in it, the world, and all who live in it; for God founded it on the seas and established it on the waters.
Psalm 100:3 – Know that the LORD is God. It is he who made us, and we are his; we are his people, the sheep of his pasture.
Psalm 33:6-9 – The Lord merely spoke, and the heavens were created. God breathed the word, and all the stars were born. God assigned the sea its boundaries and locked the oceans in vast reservoirs. Let the whole world fear the Lord, and let everyone stand in awe of God. For when God spoke, the world began! It appeared at his command.
Psalm 95:3-5 – For the Lord is the great God, the great King above all gods. In his hand are the depths of the earth, and the mountain peaks belong to him. The sea is his, for he made it, and his hands formed the dry land.
Psalm 8:3 – When I consider your heavens, the work of your fingers, the moon and the stars, which you have set in place
Psalm 74:16-17 – Both day and night belong to you; you made the starlight and the sun. You set the boundaries of the earth, and you made both summer and winter.
Psalm 65:9-11 – You care for the land and water it; you enrich it abundantly. The streams of God are filled with water to provide the people with grain, for so you have ordained it. You drench its furrows and level its ridges; you soften it with showers and bless its crops. You crown the year with your bounty, and your carts overflow with abundance.
Psalm 96:11-12 – Let the heavens rejoice, let the earth be glad; let the sea resound, and all that is in it. Let the fields be jubilant, and everything in them; let all the trees of the forest sing for joy.
Psalm 104:24, 27-28 – Lord, what a variety of things you have made! In wisdom you have made them all. The earth is full of your creatures. All creatures look to you to five them their food at the proper time, when you give it to them, they gather it up; when you open your hand, they are satisfied with good things
OPENING SENTENCES (Psalm 116)
God, you are our shepherd. You restore our souls. You guide us through right paths. You are with your people. You anoint us and give us goodness and mercy. And we shall dwell in your house for the rest of our lives.
HYMN: Listen to Lord, I Lift Your Name on High STF 2088
Jesus tells us that he is the gate for the sheep, that those who enter by him will be saved and they will find pasture and nourishment. But instead, we listen to the voices of the thieves, of those people and things that want to confuse us and take us away from God’s path, and we follow their voices, covering our ears when we hear the good shepherd’s voice. Forgive us, God of goodness, for following the things that take us to our ruin, for not understanding your words. Help us to recognize your voice that calls us to the green pastures of your will and guides us and take care of us, like you do with a lost sheep. In the name of your son, Jesus, the gate for the sheep. Amen. .
PARDON AND PEACE
Christ himself bore our sins in his body on the cross so that, free from sin and the fear of sin, we might live for righteousness. His wounds have healed us. Sisters and Brothers, our sins are forgiven; we can live in peace.
PASSING THE PEACE
Take time to think about one thing during the week that has given you peace. It can be the sound of birds chirping, flowers coming out, or hearing from someone dear.
PRAYER OF ILLUMINATION (Prayers for Easter Season. Office of Theology and Worship)
Good and loving Shepherd, you call us by name. Lead us, by your Word, in paths of righteousness, that we may have life, and have it abundantly; through Jesus Christ, the gateway to salvation. Amen.
SCRIPTURE: John 10:1-10 (NRSV)
1“Very truly, I tell you, anyone who does not enter the sheepfold by the gate but climbs in by another way is a thief and a bandit. 2The one who enters by the gate is the shepherd of the sheep. 3The gatekeeper opens the gate for him, and the sheep hear his voice. He calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. 4When he has brought out all his own, he goes ahead of them, and the sheep follow him because they know his voice. 5They will not follow a stranger, but they will run from him because they do not know the voice of strangers.” 6Jesus used this figure of speech with them, but they did not understand what he was saying to them. 7So again Jesus said to them, “Very truly, I tell you, I am the gate for the sheep. 8All who came before me are thieves and bandits; but the sheep did not listen to them. 9I am the gate. Whoever enters by me will be saved, and will come in and go out and find pasture. 10The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly.”
REFLECTION: (Rev. Manuel Silva Esterrich)
HYMN: Listen to the song "For Sake of Life" (Words and Music: Per Harling Global Praise 1 #25 Words © 1991, 1993, 1996. General Board of Global Ministries t/a GBGMusik, 475 Riverside Drive, New York, NY 10115). The original song is in Swedish. Here is the first verse.
For sake of life the face of truth will brighten.
For sake of life the seeds of hope will root.
For sake of life the way of peace will lighten
for those who dare to walk for sake of life.
PRAYER OF INTERCESSION: Take some time to present your joys and concerns and those of others to God.
SENDING SONG: Listen to "Hallelu, Hallelujah" and do the movements that you remember from your childhood.
BLESSING (Inspired by John 10: 1-10. Richard Rojas Banuchi)
May the blessing of God, who walks along God’s people giving it trust; and may the care of Jesus Christ, who defends us from the threats of thieves and false ways; and may the voice of the Holy Spirit, who calls us by our names to lead us to an abundant life, firmly hold each flock around the world, giving them peace. Amen.