- We are a community seeking to have open minds, open hearts, and open arms, building community in a fragmented world.
- We want to welcome everyone who is in the house today and everyone online. We are grateful for all the many ways you can join us for worship on this Lord’s Day.
- REMINDER: We are “masks for gathering” and would encourage everyone to wear masks. The numbers in our county and country are going up significantly and we must be diligent about keeping each other healthy and safe
- This morning our church announcements will be on one sheet at the back of the sanctuary. You may have grabbed it as you came in or please grab it on the way out. NORA filling in
- In worship today…we will be blessing several of the shepherding ministries of our church. In the name of Jesus Christ we are called to care for one another along this journey of faith--to follow the lead of the Good Shepherd.
- Let’s prepare our hearts and minds for worship with our Opening Scripture Reading...
Opening Scripture: John 10:11-15 Chad
11 “I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep. 12 The 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. 13 The hired hand runs away because a hired hand does not care for the sheep. 14 I am the good shepherd. I know my own and my own know me, 15 just as the Father knows me and I know the Father. And I lay down my life for the sheep.
Let’s sing together Weave
*Response - Weave
Weave, weave, weave us together,
Weave us together, in unity and love.
Weave, weave, weave us together,
weave us together, together in love.
*Call to Worship with Drema Herron
ONE: Day by day, God leads us:
ALL: to the deep, deep pools of peace, to the green, lush lawns of grace.
ONE: Day by day, Jesus calls us:
ALL: to pour out ourselves in service, to anoint the stranger with hope.
ONE: Day by day, the Holy Spirit shows us:
ALL: the community we could be, the family we are called to become.— written by Thom Shuman
Please remain standing as we sing together,
*Opening Hymn Savior Like a Shepherd #558
Savior, like a shepherd lead us,
much we need thy tender care;
in thy pleasant pastures feed us,
for our use thy folds prepare.
Blessed Jesus, blessed Jesus,
thou hast bought us, thine we are;
blessed Jesus, blessed Jesus,
thou hast bought us, thine we are.
Offering of Praise Drema Herron
Children’s Moment Ally Bozeka
Pastoral Prayer and Prayer Shawl Blessing Chad Delaney
Prayer Shawl Blessing written by Sarah E. Weaver, 2011
God of love and comfort, we gather together to celebrate one of the ministries of the Mantua Center Christian Church . We give thanks for the opportunity – out of love and out of concern for our Christian brothers and sisters – to share a tangible gift to those in need, the prayer shawl.
While we know that you are always present in our lives and that your love transcends all tragedy, illness and pain, we also know that sometimes a physical reminder can bring hope, healing and peace to someone who is crying out. We pray that these prayer shawls bring comfort to those who will receive them.
Oh God, open our eyes so that we might see, open our ears so that we might hear and open our minds so that we might know who is in need of your healing power and presence. Open our hearts so that we might reach out to them.
Hear now our silent prayers for all those in need within our family, our church, our community, our world….
AFFIRMATION OF PRAYER SHAWL MINISTRY
ONE: Without even knowing who would receive it, these shawls were made specifically for the people who will receive them.
ALL: May they see the intricate love and care given to this shawl, mirroring the intricate love and care that God bestows upon all people.
ONE: These shawls were made to bring warmth to someone who feels a chill.
ALL: May they feel the warm breath of the Holy Spirit as they wrap themselves with them.
ONE: These shawls were made to bring comfort to someone who feels alone.
ALL: May they feel comfort in knowing that someone prayed for them as they pieced it together.
ONE: These shawls were made to bring peace to someone in need of prayer.
ALL: May they feel the power of our prayers as they feel the yarn winding through their fingers.
ONE: These shawls were made to remind the recipient that they are part of this community.
ALL: May they feel touched by our love, moved by our guidance and held up by our support.
PRAYER OF BLESSING
God of creation, redemption and sustaining grace, we praise you for the opportunity to take part in this ministry so that we might see a world beyond ours. We thank you for putting those in need on our hearts and in our minds so that we might fully live out your call to love and serve. Thank you for those who intentioned their hearts and spirits to create these beautiful gifts out of love and in deep prayer. We ask that you bless these shawls and those who will receive them. May they feel the love, comfort and peace of your presence. And may your light shine in them and be a beacon of the hope that is promised to all of us. Amen.
Meditation Nora Brant
Communion Hymn In the Garden #227
I come to the garden alone,
while the dew is still on the roses;
and the voice I hear falling on my ear,
the Son of God discloses.
And he walks with me, and he talks with me,
and he tells me I am his own,
and the joy we share, as we tarry there,
none other has ever known.
Prayer & Lord’s Prayer Nora Brant
Words of Institution Chad Delaney
Scripture Reading: Psalm 23 NRSV
The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want. 2He makes me lie down in green pastures; he leads me beside still waters; 3he restores my soul. He leads me in right paths for his name’s sake. 4 Even though I walk through the darkest valley, I fear no evil; for you are with me; your rod and your staff—they comfort me. 5 You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies; you anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows. 6 Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life, and I shall dwell in the house of the Lord my whole life long.
Homily Endings and Beginnings Rev. Chad Delaney
Endings and Beginnings
The 23rd Psalm is one of the most familiar pieces of writing in all of the Bible. Many of us read it and memorized it as kids in Sunday School. Like many of you, I learned it in the King James Version….He "maketh" me lie down in green pastures, he "leadeth" me beside still waters. Just adding the "eth" maketh it soundeth more holy doesn’t it?
We often associate this psalm at endings. The Psalm can be read as a comfort at the end of a long and difficult day. Strung out, stressed out, beat up, we know the Good Shepherd will welcome us and enfold us in his care.
We also hear this Psalm at the end of lives, often at the graveside. The 23rd Psalm offers comfort to those who are grieving, who walk within the valley of the shadow of death yet know God is with them. There is a reminder that those who die will live, will always live in the house of the Lord. And so in times of deep struggle and need...the words of the Psalm bring comfort and hope.
This Psalm, however, is just as important for beginnings. Every day we wake up there are going to be opportunities to share goodness and mercy even in small ways. Yet there are also so many things that can get in our way. We may be distracted by our to-do lists and busy-ness. We may feel tired, lonesome, discouraged, stressed. We might feel that it's really all we can do to get ourselves through the day in one piece! So at the end of the day we might pray this Psalm seeking God’s comfort and presence. What a gift that is.
But why not at the beginning of the day too? As the Day begins to ask God to lead us beside the still waters. To ready us and restore our strength and soul. For the Psalm tells us that it is not just about filling our own cup...to feel better and ready to move forward...but also so that our cup might be overflowing. So that we might truly be filled so that when the opportunities come--a friend or neighbor in need. A stranger needs a little pick-me-up. Whatever the case may be….because we have gone to the Good Shepherd, our cup will runneth over with goodness and hope and service. Our Spirit ready to go down right paths for his namesake.
Today we are celebrating the ways in which we share a Shepherding Ministry in the mold and likeness of the Good Shepherd, Jesus. Jesus watched over the least, the little, and the lost. Jesus accompanied people in times of trial and distress. And even Jesus had to take time to fill his cup so that it might overflow to others.
Today we have blessed prayer shawls. We will bless the work of our elders in just a few minutes. We have ministries of feeding, caring, shepherding throughout this body that many of us participate in.
So we must ask...are so we filled with the goodness of God and our cups are running over
Are we running on fumes? Sliding into home at night beaten and tired, only in need of comfort?
In either case, the Good Shepherd is there to guide and teach. To comfort and cajole. To fill and restore.
This week, I would invite you to start your day with the 23rd Psalm. Put it on your mirror or if you have it memorized, recite it as you get up. May it be for you a Psalm of Beginning preparing you for all the good God has planned for you that day.
I read this week that just 1lb of a sheep’s wool….can make almost 10 miles of yarn. Just 1lb of a sheep’s wool….can make almost 10 miles of yarn. Remember that God is growing something good in you...and no matter how big or small you believe it is….your love, your kindness…will go farther than you think. May your visits with the Good Shepherd amplify them in your life.
Church Family, may the Good Shepherd be with you when you feel that you are at your endings...giving you comfort and encouragement for your wounded and tired soul. And may the Good Shepherd be with you too in times of beginnings and preparation to prepare you that your cup would overflow with acts of kindness, generosity, and love that undoubtedly will go a long way. May it be so. Amen!
Installation of MCCC Elders
Today we are recognizing and blessing God’s gift of Elders to serve the church in Christ’s ministry. All ministry is a gift from Jesus Christ who is the Good Shepherd and great high priest of the entire people of God. Through the action of the Holy Spirit, Christ’s ministry of reconciling, healing, teaching, and serving is the basis of all ministries. While the whole people of God through baptism is commission to share in this servant ministry, the church from earliest times has set some persons apart with prayer to serve in designated ministries.
In shared responsibility these will seek to re-present the reconciling work of Christ in the whole church and this part of the body by:
- Teaching and expressing the nature of the church in the spirit of Christian living
- Giving wise counsel or a listening ear to individual members who are facing hardship and difficulty
- Representing us through meditations and prayers at the Lord’s Table
- By setting forth to the people of God an engaging vision of the congregation’s mission and ministry. Seeking to live out through their example what it means to have Open Minds, Open Hearts, and Open Arms...to live and love like Jesus.
Call forth the Elders to stand or come forward
The church has with prayer and deliberation affirmed your call to the eldership of this congregation. Each of you have accepted this call as God’s intention for your life. We therefore now proceed to install you to the office of elder.
In the Light of your calling to this new responsibility, do you reaffirm your faith in Jesus Christ; and do you promise to follow him and to seek to do and to bear his will to the best of your ability all the days of your life? I do
Will you listen intently for the word of God in scripture, discerning carefully under the guidance of the Holy Spirit, so that the Word might grow your faith and be a lamp unto your feet and a light unto your path? I do
Do you commit yourself to the well-being of the church through God’s grace fulfill a servant ministry of care and concern for all the church’s members? I do
May the Lord bless you and give you grace to keep and fulfil these vows!
In the Name of Jesus Christ, we affirm and bless you as installed elders at the Mantua Center Christian Church.
Gracious God, the giver of every good and perfect gift, we thank you for raising up these elders in our midst to serve you and the church in strengthening the church. By your grace assist them in the building up of the church into the fullness of the stature of Jesus Christ. We thank you for their yes, their commitment, and their love of you. Be with each of them in service and love, in Jesus Name, Amen.
Closing Hymn Where He Leads Me #346
I can hear my Savior calling,
I can hear my Savior calling,
I can hear my Savior calling,
"Take thy cross and follow, follow me."
where he leads me I will follow--
I'll go with him, with him all the way.
*Benediction Chad Delaney
- Interested in Baptism?
Church Family, may we rejoice in the One who leads us beside still waters, and gives us nourishment for our souls. Christ our Shepherd will show us the way we should go, so that the name of God will always be glorified. Though all manner of trial and difficulty will befall us, we will not be afraid, for the Good Shepherd of our lives is with us. We are never far away from the love and mercy of God, and we shall be with him now and always. Amen!
Departing Music “Toccata Breve” Jan Green
By Tom Birchwood