Introduction & Welcome

Welcome to worship today, God’s gift to us because God is good! all the time!

and all the time! God is good!

The image of the good shepherd shows us how the risen Christ brings us to life. It is the relationship between the shepherd and the sheep, one of mutual knowledge and love, that gives the shepherd authority. The shepherd’s willingness to lay down his life for the sheep shows his love. First John illustrates what it means to lay down our lives for one another by the example of sharing our wealth with any sibling in need.

Thanksgiving for Baptism

Alleluia! Christ is risen.

Christ is risen indeed. Alleluia!

Refreshed by the resurrection life we share in Christ, let us give thanks for the gift of baptism.

We thank you, risen Christ,

for these waters where you make us new,

leading us from death to life, from tears to joy.

We bless you, risen Christ, that your Spirit comes to us

in the grace-filled waters of rebirth,

like rains to our thirsting earth,

like streams that revive our souls,

like cups of cool water shared with strangers.

Breathe your peace on your church when we hide in fear.

Clothe us with your mercy and forgiveness.

Send us companions on our journey as we share your life.

Make us one, risen Christ.

Cleanse our hearts.

Shower us with life.

To you be given all praise,

with the Holy Spirit,

in the glory of God,

now and forever.


Confession and Forgiveness

All may make the sign of the cross, the sign marked at baptism, as the presiding minister begins.

Blessed be the holy Trinity, ☩ one God,

the keeper of the covenant,

the source of steadfast love,

our rock and our redeemer.


God hears us when we cry, and draws us close in Jesus Christ. Let us return to the one who is full of compassion.

Silence is kept for reflection.

Fountain of living water,

pour out your mercy over us.

Our sin is heavy, and we long to be free.

Rebuild what we have ruined and mend what we have torn.

Wash us in your cleansing flood.

Make us alive in the Spirit to follow in the way of Jesus,

as healers and restorers of the world you so love.


Beloved, God’s word never fails.

The promise rests on grace:

by the saving love of Jesus Christ,

the wisdom and power of God,

your sins are ☩ forgiven, and God remembers them no more.

Journey in the way of Jesus.


Prayer of the Day

O Lord Christ, good shepherd of the sheep, you seek the lost and guide us into your fold. Feed us, and we shall be satisfied; heal us, and we shall be whole. Make us one with you, for you live and reign with the Father and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever.


First Reading: Acts 4:5-12

Peter and John had been arrested the previous day because they were proclaiming the news of the resurrection to the people. In today’s reading, Peter is filled with the Holy Spirit so that he can proclaim salvation in Jesus’ name to the religious authorities.

5The next day [the] rulers, elders, and scribes assembled in Jerusalem, 6with Annas the high priest, Caiaphas, John, and Alexander, and all who were of the high-priestly family. 7When they had made the prisoners stand in their midst, they inquired, “By what power or by what name did you do this?” 8Then Peter, filled with the Holy Spirit, said to them, “Rulers of the people and elders, 9if we are questioned today because of a good deed done to someone who was sick and are asked how this man has been healed, 10let it be known to all of you, and to all the people of Israel, that this man is standing before you in good health by the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, whom you crucified, whom God raised from the dead. 11This Jesus is
‘the stone that was rejected by you, the builders;
it has become the cornerstone.’
12There is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given among mortals by which we must be saved.”

Psalm: Psalm 23

The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not be in want. (Ps. 23:1)

1The Lord is my shepherd;
I shall not be in want.
2The Lord makes me lie down in green pastures
and leads me beside still waters.
3You restore my soul, O Lord,
and guide me along right pathways for your name’s sake.
4Though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I shall fear no evil;
for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me. 
5You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies;
you anoint my head with oil, and my cup is running over.
6Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life,
and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever. 

Second Reading: 1 John 3:16-24

Jesus’ death on our behalf is the clearest demonstration of divine love. This is the very love we share with others, not just through our words but especially through our deeds. In sharing such love we fulfill God’s commandments.

16We know love by this, that [Jesus Christ] laid down his life for us—and we ought to lay down our lives for one another. 17How does God’s love abide in anyone who has the world’s goods and sees a brother or sister in need and yet refuses help?
18Little children, let us love, not in word or speech, but in truth and action. 19And by this we will know that we are from the truth and will reassure our hearts before him 20whenever our hearts condemn us; for God is greater than our hearts, and he knows everything. 21Beloved, if our hearts do not condemn us, we have boldness before God; 22and we receive from him whatever we ask, because we obey his commandments and do what pleases him.
23And this is his commandment, that we should believe in the name of his Son Jesus Christ and love one another, just as he has commanded us. 24All who obey his commandments abide in him, and he abides in them. And by this we know that he abides in us, by the Spirit that he has given us.

Gospel Acclamation

Alleluia. Jesus says, I am | the good shepherd. I know my own and my | own know me. Alleluia. (John 10:14)

Gospel: John 10:11-18

In language that recalls the twenty-third psalm, Jesus describes himself as the shepherd who cares for his sheep. He is willing to die for them, and he is able to overcome death for them.

[Jesus said:] 11“I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep. 12The 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. 13The hired hand runs away because a hired hand does not care for the sheep. 14I am the good shepherd. I know my own and my own know me, 15just as the Father knows me and I know the Father. And I lay down my life for the sheep. 16I 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. 17For this reason the Father loves me, because I lay down my life in order to take it up again. 18No one takes 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.”

Meditation by David O’Brien

Today’s readings are about love. Not the kind of love referred to as “erosor erotic love, in the ancient Greek language, but the other types. Not that there’s anything wrong with eros. It’s a natural part of how God made us. It’s a gift from God. But the kind of love shown in Psalm strikes me as a type of family love, as a parent should have for their child, or “storge in the original Greek. In the Psalm, David is expressing his gratitude for all the good things that the Lord has done for him and continues to do for him. In the second reading, the author gives a good example of what might be called “philia” by the ancient Greeks, or brotherly friendship. I’m referring to the second line of the reading where he asks, “How does God’s love abide in anyone who has the world’s good and sees a brother or sister in need and yet refuses to help?”. That reading, along with the first one and the Gospel, also make reference to greatest type of love, “agape”, a type of love that gives of one’s self without expecting anything in return. It’s illustrated in Acts by Peter and John’s healing of the sick man in the name of Jesus, not looking for any reward and in fact facing condemnation from the High Priests because of it and yet proclaiming it for what it is all the same. They did this, not for their own benefit, but so that others might be brought to faith in Christ and be saved. First John discusses how we know love by the fact of Christ’s sacrifice for us and he encourages us to act likewise. Finally, in the Gospel, Jesus shows His love for us in that He is willing to lay down His life for our salvation. These strike me as examples or illustrations of agape.

If we are fortunate, we’ve all experienced or expressed storge love in our life. Most parents feel this type of love for their child when they are born and continue to do so all of their lives. My father, for example, who is 90 years old, continues to care for and parent me in a very loving way. That doesn’t mean that he treats me like I’m immature, but rather he encourages me, provides his insight when he can and continues to be one of my biggest cheerleaders for just about everything I do. I also try to express this type of love towards my father by trying to celebrate the things he values in his life and sharing the events in my life and the lives of my wife, the kids in our family and our grandchildren. I have been truly blessed to have a storge relationship with my father & my mother, when she was alive, my mother & father in-law, my wife, my siblings and so on.

I have also had people in my life with whom I have experienced a sense of phila, or a close bond of friendship. The US Marine Corps uses the phrase Semper Fidelis, Latin for always faithful as their motto. I think it expresses this type of a close relationship they have formed with each other during the trials of their service to this nation. I have felt this way about some of the people I’ve worked with, both in the prison and in community corrections. We’ve been in situations where we had to be able to trust one another for our safety. I remember one situation in particular where I was a member of a team negotiating the release of a hostage that an inmate was holding in a broom closet. Every member of that team worked together under very stressful conditions and as a result we felt a close bond between us.

Examples of agape love can also be found all around us. Every week, I look at the boxes in our lobby for the food drive and personal needs ministries and see several bags of donations, so much so that some are on the floor next to it. Those donations and the people that donate blood at our blood drives for people they don’t even know and will never meet are examples of agape love at work in our lives. I would even say that taking precautions to not spread COVID is an example of agape love. But the best example of agape love I can think of is found in John 3:16; “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believes in Him may have eternal life” and in the sacrifice that Jesus Christ made for us all. May we all see God’s love in our lives and may we share that agape love with those around us.

Prayers of Intercession

Alive in the risen Christ by the power of the Holy Spirit, we bring our prayers before God who promises to hear us and answer in steadfast love.

A brief silence.

Loving Shepherd, you know your own and your own know you. Your voice calls us to your loving embrace. Bless Elizabeth & Daniel, our bishops, and Howard, our pastor. Strengthen your church throughout the world that we bear witness to your expansive love. Hear us, O God.

Your mercy is great.

Gracious Shepherd, you are generous with the gifts of goodness and mercy. Restore your creation to wholeness so that cities and towns, countryside and wilderness, may abound with life. Teach us to be mindful that we are only stewards of your creation so that we may pass on that stewardship to our children and their children. Hear us, O God.

Your mercy is great.

Hope-giving Shepherd, the nations and peoples are your heritage. Place into the hearts of all leaders and rulers the passion to serve. Crucify any desire to overpower others and give leaders joy in lifting up the lowly. Bless those who feel oppressed so that they may feel your love and have their burdens lightened. Hear us, O God.

Your mercy is great.

Abiding Shepherd, your love flows as we reach out to those around us. Move us with your Spirit, so that we lay down our lives for those in need, especially those on our prayer list. Help us love one another in truth and action. Hear us, O God.

Your mercy is great.

Saving Shepherd, you restore us to wholeness. Help our community in our life together and give us vigor as a people of faith. In the midst of challenges and opportunities, fill us anew with you Holy Spirit. Hear us, O God.

Your mercy is great.

Tending Shepherd, turn your ears to the prayers we offer now, aloud or in our hearts, as we trust that you will provide for us that which will be best for us. Hear us, O God.

Your Mercy is great.

Eternal Shepherd, you hold us securely in your loving hands. In the assurance of resurrection hope, we remember our loved ones who have died in you, especially the evangelist Mark, and all of our departed loved ones. Bring us, with them, to dwell in your house forever. Hear us, O God.

Your mercy is great.

In the hope of new life in Christ, we raise our prayers to you, trusting in your never-ending goodness and mercy; through Jesus Christ our Lord.


Together, let us profess our faith using the words of the Apostles Creed:

I believe in God, the Father almighty, creator of heaven and earth.

I believe in Jesus Christ, God’s only Son, our Lord, who was conceived by the Holy Spirit, born of the virgin Mary, suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, died, and was buried; he descended to the dead.* On the third day he rose again; he ascended into heaven, he is seated at the right hand of the Father, and he will come to judge the living and the dead.

I believe in the Holy Spirit,

the holy catholic church,

the communion of saints,

the forgiveness of sins,

the resurrection of the body,

and the life everlasting.


And now, as our Savior, Christ is teaching us, we boldly pray:

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. And lead us not into temptation; but deliver us from evil. For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever and ever.



May our glorious God grant you a spirit of wisdom

to know and to love the risen Lord Jesus.

The God of life,

Father, ☩ Son, and Holy Spirit,

bless you now and forever.



Alleluia! Christ is risen.

Christ is risen indeed. Alleluia!

Go in peace. Share the good news. Alleluia!

Thanks be to God. Alleluia!