A Gathering in Worship Offered by the People of the Church of Christ, Union
10:30 am Fourth Sunday of Easter
The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want. God makes me lie down in green pastures; God leads me beside still waters; God restores my soul. ~ from Psalm 23
From There to Here: We Gather
¨ The Call Thirst
Another morning and I wake with thirst for the goodness I do not have. I walk out to the pond and all the way God has given us such beautiful lessons. Oh Lord, I was never a quick scholar but sulked and hunched over my books past the hour and the bell; grant me, in your mercy, a little more time. Love for the earthand love for you are having such a long conversation in my heart. Who knows what will finally happen or where I will be sent, yet already I have given a great many things away, expecting to be told to pack nothing, except the prayers which, with this thirst, I am slowly learning.
¨ Hymn #479 Black God Is My Shepherd Brother James’ Air
1. God is my shepherd, I’ll not want, I feed in pastures green. God grants me rest and bids me drink from waters calm and clean. Through daily tasks, I’m blessed and led by One I have not one seen.
2. Restored to life each morning new, I rise up from the dust to follow God whose presence gives me confidence and trust. I praise the name of God today; in God I put my trust.
3. When I must pass through shadowed vale, where loss and death await, I will not fear for God is there, my shepherd strong and great, whose rod and staff will comfort me and all my fears abate.
4. No enemy can overcome, no power on earth defeat the one anointed by God’s grace and fed with manna sweet. My cup is filled and overflows as I my Savior greet.
5. Goodness and mercy all my days will surely follow me; and where God reigns in heaven and earth, my dwelling place will be. My shepherd blesses, cares, and leads through all eternity.
¨ Passing the Peace of Christ
All who come to this sanctuary are welcome companions on the journey of faith. Please turn to those nearest you and greet them with words of peace.
Word and Worship
Christ Has Broken down the Wall Mark Miller
Union Church Choir
Christ has broken down the wall. Let us join our hearts as one. We’re accepted as we are. Through God’s love all is reconciled. Cast aside your doubts and fears. Peace and love, freely offered here. We will tear down the walls! We will tear down every wall! God has called us, one and all. Christ has broken down the wall.
Scripture Lesson Psalm 23 p. 662
The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want. He maketh me to lie down in green pastures: he leadeth me beside the still waters. He restoreth my soul: he leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name’s sake. Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me. Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies: thou anointest my head with oil; my cup runneth over. Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life: and I will dwell in the house of the Lord for ever.
Children’s Moment as the children return to their seats we sing:
May God’s presence guard, protect and guide you. God bless you, God bless you. Our savior’s loving arms be ever ’round you. God bless you, God bless you.
Scripture Lesson John 10:1-10
“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. The one who enters by the gate is the shepherd of the sheep. The gatekeeper opens the gate for him, and the sheep hear his voice. He calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. When he has brought out all his own, he goes ahead of them, and the sheep follow him because they know his voice. They will not follow a stranger, but they will run from him because they do not know the voice of strangers.” Jesus used this figure of speech with them, but they did not understand what he was saying to them.
So again Jesus said to them, “Very truly, I tell you, I am the gate for the sheep. All who came before me are thieves and bandits, but the sheep did not listen to them. I am the gate. Whoever enters by me will be saved and will come in and go out and find pasture. The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly.
Sermon Led Beyond the Shadow, Seeking the Shepherd’s Light O.H. Jackson Napier
Ringing of the Peace Bell
The Union Church Peace Bell was created by Jeff Enge in honor of Union Church member Carl Eschbach (1904-1998). A twin bell hangs in Berea’s sister province in Japan and is also rung in the hope of peace for all nations.
Silent Prayer & Prayers of the Community
A Chance for Generosity: www.easytithe.com/union
A community of caring relies on support. Your recurring or one-time donation will make a ministry of healing, justice, and teaching available to all in need.
· Use your smart phone or computer and go to www.easytithe.com/union. No registration required, but registering once makes future generosity an amount and a click.
· Baskets are also placed at the head and foot of each aisle and passed for those who wish to make an in-person donation.
· Give by Text. Text an amount to 859-448-3403 (Example: Text “$50.00 Offering”)
· Give by Mail to: 200 Prospect St., Berea, KY 40403
Your contribution is love made visible. Thank you!
Prayer and Reflection Questions
The writer of the Gospel quotes Jesus as saying that “the sheep know my voice.” Sometimes we don’t hear. And sometimes we hear but we don’t HEED. A sound spiritual practice, however, helps us detect and distinguish the voices meant to shepherd amidst a lot of unhelpful clamor.
¨ Take a moment in your prayers (either now or at a quiet time of your choosing) to listen to the voice you know to be right, true, and speaking to you. To where and for what are you being called?
¨ If it is familiar, reaffirm your path and be fed on the journey.
¨ If you hear a true voice calling you to something new, acknowledge the changes it might require and any fears this brings up, and then ask for whatever you might need in order to follow or fulfill. Rest in the assurance of the psalmist, and let God lead you to green pastures.
“Thine oil anoints my head.” The author of Psalm 23 extols in remembering the provision of God and the shepherd, in leading the flock. Rev. Kent and members of our Stephen Ministry team will be offering anointing for the path you are on, or one you are about to undertake.
Please join one of the lines to receive a blessing and a touch of scented oil on either your head or hand. Whether you are walking through green fields or shadowed valleys, you are welcome to receive this ancient reminder of God’s guidance and provision for you.
God of grass, grow up under our feet.
God of still water and water still pure, quench the fires of our fears and fury.
God of restoration, restore to us the path to goodness and mercy for ourselves and for those seeking it in us. Restore to us the commitment to never walk that path for just ourselves, but to bring ALL the sheep we know along that road. Help us pave it straight and strong, through every danger.
For it is in company that we seek and find your banquet; by feeding all are we fed.
Anoint us, God of overflowing cups and vanquished valleys, that we may live and move and weave our very being into your vision for the household of God. We know your voice, Lord. We know it is you calling us. Help us never stray even as we reach to you again as …
Our Lord’s Prayer
All: Our Maker, Our Mother, and 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 sins as we forgive those who sin against us; and lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil: For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory forever. Amen.
From Here to There: We Depart
We share opportunities for Beloved Community and ways to serve.
Lighting the Justice Candle to Lead us Forth
We light the Justice Candle today in honor of Doctors Without Borders, which provides humanitarian medical care. It is a non-governmental organization (NGO) of French origin known for its projects in conflict zones and in countries affected by endemic diseases. The organization provides care for: diabetes, drug-resistant infections, HIV/AIDS, hepatitis C, tropical and neglected diseases, tuberculosis, vaccines and COVID-19. In 2019, the charity was active in 70 countries with over 35,000 personnel; mostly local doctors, nurses and other medical professionals, logistical experts, water and sanitation engineers, and administrators. Private donors provide about 90% of the organization’s funding, while corporate donations provide the rest, giving MSF an annual budget of approximately US$1.63 billion.
MSF was founded in 1971, in the aftermath of the Biafran famine of the Nigerian Civil War, by a small group of French doctors and journalists who sought to expand accessibility to medical care across national boundaries and irrespective of race, religion, creed or political affiliation.
¨ Hymn #531 God, Speak to Me That I May Speak
1.God, speak to me, that I may speak in living echoes of your tone; as you have sought, so let me seek your erring children lost and lone.
2. Oh, lead me, God, that I may lead some wanderers along life’s way; O feed me so that I may feed your hungry ones without delay.
3. Oh, fill me with your fullness, God, your overflowing love to know; in glowing word and kindling thought, your love to tell, your praise to show.
4. Oh, use me, God, use even me, just as you will, and when and where; until your blessed face I see, your rest, your joy, your glory share.
You are welcome to be seated to appreciate the music following service, and to show appreciation at the end with applause.
Our Prayers for Others
¨ Each week we join millions of Christians who pray for one another through the ecumenical prayer cycle and, locally, the Berea Ministerial Association’s prayer cycle (Link to World Council of Churches Ecumenical Prayer cycle. (union-church.org/ministries/prayer/). Let us hold the people of
Afghanistan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Mongolia, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan ; and our brothers & sisters at the Unitarian Universalist Fellowship in our hearts, and pray for them. Please hold these concerns in your prayers, today and throughout the week.
¨ Prayers for all the people of Ukraine for their safety and sovereignty. Prayers also that the government of Russia will turn to reason & respect for their own peoples’ lives as well as for Ukrainian families.
¨ All those seeking a new and just society and those fearful that they will be supplanted, may God open their hearts and include them in grace.
¨ For the survivors of the earthquakes in Türkiye and Syria that help will arrive and that lives may be spared. Hold them in their grief and empower all those who can help to lift their hearts to the aid needed.
¨ The Bellnier family and for David’s father, recently diagnosed with aggressive lymphoma.
¨ Alva Peloquin, recovering from intestinal issues at the Terrace Nursing home.
¨ Rhonda Cardwell, at the death of her father, Richard Douglas who passed away at age 93 last Sunday.
¨ Rita Barlow
¨ JoAnn Russell, Reda Hutton’s aunt, facing several medical challenges.
¨ Our church family members in nursing homes or who are homebound: Jan Hamilton, Doug Hindman, Betsy Hoefer, Dorie Hubbard, Loyal Jones, Lois Morgan, Tom & Sara Parker, Cheryl Payne, Alva Peloquin, Laura Robie, Betty Wray, Sally Zimmerman
¨ Patsy Boyce, sister-in-law of Bob and Jean Boyce, undergoing chemotherapy.
Celebrations with Prayers of Joy! Birthdays: May 2 – Jenny Hobson; May 3 – Edd Easton-Hogg; 5 – Steve Rhodes; 6 – Ann Butwell; May 7 – Annriette Stolte, Tom McClure
Anniversaries: May 1 – Charles & Megan Hoffman
If we haven’t got your important dates, let us know. We’ll help you get connected in FellowshipOne Go!
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