CALL TO WORSHIP: Worship Leader and Congregation
Leader: We were lost and going astray.
People: The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want.
He makes me lie down in green pastures.
He leads me beside the still waters.
Leader: But now we return to our shepherd.
People: He restores my soul. He leads me in the paths of righteousness for his name’s sake.
Leader: We have heard the call of the guardian of our souls.
People: Yeah though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I shall fear no evil, for thou art with me.
Leader: This is the gate of our shepherd, the door to eternal life.
People: Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life, and I shall dwell in the house of the Lord forever.
OPENING PRAYER: Worship Leader and Congregation
Shepherding God, guardian of our souls, you offer us rest in the safety of green pastures, shower us with your love, and offer us fullness of life in your name. When our spirits are parched, you lead us beside still waters and quench our thirst for righteousness; you restore our souls. Touch our hearts and minds, that your goodness and mercy may follow us each and every day of our lives, and that we may abide in your love and your grace forever. Amen.
PASTORAL PRAYER – LORD’S PRAYER:
Our Father, who art in heaven hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come, thy will be done on earth as it is in Heaven. Give us this day our daily bread and forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us. Lead us not into temptation but deliver us from evil. For thine is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever and ever. Amen. God of many pastures, your Spirit calls us to reach out and proclaim the good news where bandits and thieves seek to lead your sheep astray. Forgive us, source of comfort and strength, when we seek to keep your care for ourselves—believing that we alone have a special place in your love. Call us once more, loving shepherd, to lay our burdens down and rest, that we might have the strength to open our eyes all around us. Amen.
WORDS OF ASSURANCE: Worship Leader
Even when our hearts condemn us, God is greater than our hearts. Our shepherd is the guardian of our souls and the gate to eternal life. The good shepherd leads us to safe pastures and restores our souls. Surely goodness and mercy shall follow us all the days of our lives, and we shall dwell secure in the pasture of God’s love forever. Amen.