A United Methodist Pastor's Theological Reflections

"But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory (nikos) through our Lord Jesus Christ." - I Corinthians 15:57

Sunday, May 3, 2020

Sunday (May 3) Online Worship Service Athens First UMC

Welcome to our May 3 online worship @ Athens First UMC!
2 S. College St., Athens, OH 45701

Greeting From Pastor Robert

Call to Worship

L: Do you need a guide?

P: The Lord is our shepherd.

L: Do you need a doorway to new life?

P: The Lord is our gate.

L: Do you need rest?

P: The Lord restores our souls.

L: Do you need care?

P: The Lord is our shepherd.

L: Come, let us worship.

Hymn                          I Come with Joy

Welcome & Passing the Peace
[Bob & Jenny Klein’s very adorable two month old puppy, Oscar invites you to greet one another, not by rubbing noses, but by simply barking, “The peace of Christ be with you!”]

Prayer of Confession & Words of Assurance

Lord, Jesus, our shepherd and our gate to new life, we confess that we often neglect to care for our mind, body, and soul. You invite us to follow you to green pastures and still waters, but the cares of the world continue to overwhelm us. Help us to hear and respond to your voice so that we might find fullness of life in you. Guide us into a new season of growth and fruitfulness. Bring out our inner child so that we might take delight in the wonder of your creation. Thank you for being our Good Shepherd who offers us abundant life! Amen.

L: In the name of Jesus Christ, you are forgiven.

P: In the name of Jesus Christ, you are forgiven.

All: Thanks be to God!

Old Testament Lesson Psalm 23
                Shelby Martin
[Perhaps the most well known of all the psalms, Psalm 23 is directly related to our Gospel lesson for today because of its reminder that we are sheep and the Lord is our shepherd.]

Gospel Lesson - John 10:1-10
                Kevin Saunier
[In our Gospel reading for today, Jesus is making the case that he is the Good Shepherd. He is even willing to lay down his life for his sheep.]

Special Music  Set Me as a Seal - Rene Clausen (See Below Video for Lyrics)

Minnesota Choral Artists (from the CD, Tonight Eternity Alone) 

Matthew Culloton, Artistic Director

Set me as a seal upon your heart, 
as a seal upon your arm,
For love is strong as death.
Many waters cannot quench love; 
neither can the floods drown it.

Affirmation of Faith      The Apostles’ Creed

I believe in God, the Father Almighty, maker of heaven and earth. 

And in Jesus Christ, his 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; the third day he rose from the dead; he ascended into heaven, and sitteth at the right hand of the Father Almighty. From thence he shall come again to judge the quick 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.

Sermon        The Voice of the Shepherd       
                                                                     Rev. Robert McDowell

Sermon Discussion Questions

Why do you think that Jesus would base his campaign speech on saying that he is the true shepherd, the good shepherd? He says that he is the one who offers us life abundantly. What does that mean to you?

The Gospel of John is known for describing the seven signs of Jesus in showing that he truly is the Good Shepherd, the Savior of the world. Some of these signs or miracles included changing water into wine at a wedding, healing people, feeding 5,000 with just a few loaves and some fish, and raising his friend, Lazarus from the dead.

Which of these signs of Jesus stand out for you? In what ways is Jesus still performing signs or miracles today?

Later in that same passage of scripture, Jesus continues his campaign speech by saying how he is willing to lay down his life for his sheep. He was referring to his eventual death on a cross for the sins of the world.

What does the cross mean to you? How does the cross reveal that Jesus is our Good Shepherd?

Jesus says that he calls his sheep by name and knows his sheep.

What are some ways that you seek to listen to Jesus’ voice? What is Jesus, our Good Shepherd saying to you now?

Hymn             Savior, Like a Shepherd Lead Us          

Pastoral Prayer & The Lord’s Prayer

Church News

[The following announcement slides below are to help us stay connected as a church especially since we are unable to gather in our church building for weekly worship. Please scroll down through the announcements, and our online service will continue with another video.]

Offering Our Gifts

Thank you for your gifts!!!
“Riches and honor come from You, and You are the ruler of everything. Power and might are in Your hand, and it is in Your hand to make great and to give strength to all.”  1 Chronicles 29:12

The Sacrament of Holy 
[Pastor Robert will invite us to partake of the bread and the juice.]

Prayer of Thanksgiving

Shepherd God, thank you for preparing a table before us and for inviting us to your holy meal of renewal and new life. Our hearts are full and our cup overflows. Thank you for leading us to green pastures and for allowing us to rest by still waters. Your abundant life is more than enough! In gratitude we offer this prayer in Jesus’ name. Amen.

Closing Hymn    Lord, Dismiss us with Thy Blessing


[A big thank you to Shelby Martin and Kevin Saunier for reading the scripture lessons for our online service today. Shelby and Kevin have been attending our church while students at Ohio University. Pastor Robert will be officiating at their less than ten people wedding in June. They are a beautiful couple!]

Join us back here next Sunday (May 10) for our online worship service.

[For previous online worship services, click here.]

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