A Call to Worship
Easter 4A 2011
Psalm 23

Caring Shepherd, you supply all our needs.
We celebrate God’s generous care of us all.

Good Shepherd, you take us by the hand and
lead us through the dark and fearful times in life.
We celebrate God’s compassion and understanding.

Gracious Shepherd, your goodness and mercy
nurtures and blesses us, and it enriches our soul.
As we worship you, we share together in the feast
you prepare for us, and it restores and refreshes us. Amen.

Prayers of Trust
Easter 4A 2011
Psalm 23

Trustworthy God, we come to worship and praise you, and to share
with you in a time of fellowship and prayer. We offer you our prayers
as a community of faith, as we share in the challenges of life. We gather
together to gain strength from each other, and to encourage each other
and to be encouraged in our life’s hazardous pilgrimage of faith. We trust
in you to be our guide and helper, and our protector against the perils of
the journey home to you. Be our strength and support today, we pray.

Unshakable God, we know that there will be times when life’s dark and
challenging times will hurt and trouble us, and it is then that we need
you most especially. From past times of stress, and in faith, hope and
trust in you, we know that you will sustain us and journey with us through
those difficult times; and give us strength, courage and hope in adversity.

Understanding God, you know how fragile we can be, mentally, physically
and spiritually, and we give thanks that you allow us time to draw breath,
to wait quietly before you – resting in your comforting presence – and for
these blessings we give you sincere thanks. You anticipate our needs, and
prepare for us with generosity and love, even in the most unlikely of places.

God, our Good Shepherd in whom we trust, and for whom we give our thanks—
we are overwhelmed by your unfailing love and in the extravagance of your
blessings! We can only respond to that love and generosity with our thanks
and praise, and seek to always worship, serve and praise you all our days. Amen.

A Personal Meditation
Easter 4A 2011
Psalm 23

I can say with confidence that the Lord is my ‘Good Shepherd’ as in
my life I have travelled through green pastures when life was good,
and everything was ‘rosy’. I have also travelled along rocky and lonely
alleys; along hazardous passages with disaster staring at me from
either side of my path; and through the deep dark valley of pain and
despair. My good Shepherd travelled every step of the way with me,
helping, sustaining and supporting me as I moved through my journey.

Creative pause: My Shepherd travelled every step of the way with me.

But I did not travel those paths with only my Good Shepherd beside me.
I also had the members of my flock with me, sometimes helping, at other
times annoying or hindering me. Yet that is life within a community of faith!
Sometimes the pace was fast and furious, other times it was so slow and
boring I thought we would never reach our destination. Yet that is life within
a community of faith! Sometimes there were people testing their strength
and leadership qualities; other times it was simply chaotic bewilderment.
Yet that is also life within a community of faith! Thankfully, our Shepherd
had seen it all before, and knows what to do, to draw us back together again.

Creative pause: Our Shepherd has seen it all before, and knows what to do!

Our very experienced Shepherd knows when the flock needs to rest, when
tired older ones and little young ones need to be carried for a short while.
Our Shepherd knows when we need nurturing and healing; when we need
water from the springs of life; and when it was time to stop for recuperation.
The extravagance and tenderness of the loving care provided for me and my
fellow travellers was amazing. I want to praise and thank my Good Shepherd
for such devotion, such understanding and such inspiring and helpful mercies.

Creative pause: I always want to praise and thank my Good Shepherd.

Unless stated otherwise, all Bible readings and extracts used in these weekly Prayers and Meditations are from
‘The New Revised Standard Version’ Copyright © 1989, Division of Christian Education of the National Council
of the Churches of Christ in the USA. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

*The additional weekly numbering is from the Revised COCU Indexing Scheme
COCU = ('Consultation on Church Union'); as it offers an easy sequential numbering
for the Revised Common Lectionary for the Church Calendar.

If any part of these Prayers and/or Meditations is used in shared worship, please provide
the following acknowledgement:
© 2011 Joan Stott – ‘The Timeless Psalms’ RCL Psalms Year A. Used with permission.


Download/view a pdf file of this document here: easter4a_2011.pdf