Fourth Sunday of Easter        April 25, 2021                                              


Today’s Theme for Worship: “Good Shepherd Sunday” focuses on God’s great shepherding love.


Opening Hymn: 508 Gracious Savior, Gentle Shepherd


1  Gracious Savior, gentle Shepherd, Children all are dear to you;

May your loving arms enfold them In your care their whole life through.

Gently tend and safely keep them In your mercy strong and true.


2  Tender Shepherd, never leave them, Never let them go astray;

By your warning love directed, May they walk the narrow way.

Thus direct them, thus defend them Lest they fall an easy prey.


3  By your holy Word instruct them; Fill their minds with heav’nly light.

By your pow’rful grace convince them Always to approve what’s right.

Let them feel your yoke is easy; Let them find your burden light.


4  Taught to love the holy praises Which on earth your children sing,

With their lips and hearts, sincerely, Glad thankoff’rings may they bring,

Then with all the saints in glory Join to praise their Lord and King.


Text: Jane E. Leeson, 1809-81, abr., adapt., alt.



P: The grace of our Lord + Jesus Christ and the love of God and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you.

C: And also with you.


Confession of Sins

P: We have come into the presence of God, who created us to love and serve him as his dear children. But we have disobeyed him and deserve only his wrath and punishment. Therefore, let us confess our sins to him and plead for his mercy.

C: Merciful Father in heaven, I am altogether sinful from birth. In countless ways I have sinned against you and do not deserve to be called your child. But trusting in Jesus, my Savior, I pray: have mercy on me according to your unfailing love. Cleanse me from my sin, and take away my guilt.

P: God, our heavenly Father, has forgiven all your sins. By the perfect life and innocent death of our Lord Jesus Christ, he has removed your guilt forever. You are his own dear child. May God give you strength to live according to his will.

C: Amen.


P: In the peace of forgiveness, let us praise the Lord.


Oh Taste And See


Oh, taste and see that the Lord is good.

Bless-ed are they who take re-fuge in him.


Your Word, O Lord, is e-ter-nal;

it stands firm in the heav-ens.

Your faith-ful-ness con-tin-ues for-ev-er.


Oh, taste and see that the Lord is good.

Bless-ed are they who take re-fuge in him.


Prayer of the Day

P: Let us Pray.

O Lord Jesus Christ, you are the Good Shepherd who laid down your life for the sheep. Lead us now by the still waters of your life-giving Word that we may abide in your Father’s house forevermore; for you live and reign with the Father and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever.  C: Amen.


First Lesson: Acts 4:23-33
The church in Jerusalem heard that Peter and John were ordered not to preach Christ, and prayed that God would give his apostles the boldness to speak the Word to the world.

23After Peter and John were released, they went to their own friends and reported everything the high priests and the elders had said. 24When they heard this, with one mind they raised their voices to God and said, “Master, you are the God who made the heaven, the earth, the sea, and everything in them. 25By the Holy Spirit, through the mouth of our father David, your servant, you said:

Why do the nations rage

and the peoples plot in vain?

26The kings of the earth take their stand,

and the rulers are gathered together

against the Lord

and against his Anointed One.

27“For certainly, in this city both Herod and Pontius Pilate, along with the Gentiles and people of Israel, were gathered together against your holy servant Jesus, whom you anointed. 28They did whatever your hand and your plan had decided beforehand should happen.

29“Now Lord, look at their threats and give to your servants the ability to keep on speaking your word with all boldness 30as you stretch out your hand to heal and as signs and wonders take place through the name of your holy servant Jesus.”

31After they prayed, the place where they were gathered was shaken. Also, everyone was filled with the Holy Spirit, and they continued to speak the word of God with boldness.

32The whole group of believers was one in heart and soul. No one claimed that any of his possessions was his own, but they held everything in common. 33The apostles continued to testify about the resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ with great power, and abundant grace was on all of them.

Psalm of the Day: Psalm 23


The Lord is my shepherd; there is nothing I shall want.


The LORD is my shepherd,*

I shall not be in want.


He makes me lie down in green pastures;*

he leads me beside quiet waters.


He restores my soul;*

he guides me in paths of righteousness

for his name’s sake.


Even though I walk through the valley

of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil,*

for you are with me;

your rod and your staff, they comfort me.



The Lord is my shepherd; there is nothing I shall want.


You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies.*

You anoint my head with oil;

my cup overflows.


Surely goodness and love will follow me

all the days of my life,*

and I will dwell in the house of the LORD forever.


Glory be to the Father and to the Son*

and to the Holy Spirit,

as it was in the beginning,*

is now, and will be forever. Amen.



The Lord is my shepherd; there is nothing I shall want.

Refrain Tune: Richard Proulx. © 1986 GIA Publications, Inc., Chicago, IL, All rights reserved. Used by permission.

Second Lesson: 1 John 3:1-2
John declares the marvelous love of God that made us his children.

See the kind of love the Father has given us that we should be called children of God, and that is what we are! The world does not know us, because it did not know him. 2Dear friends, we are children of God now, but what we will be has not yet been revealed. We know that when he is revealed we will be like him, and we will see him as he really is.


Alleluia!  Alleluia!  Alleluia!

These words are written that we may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God.

Alleluia!  Alleluia!  Alleluia!


Gospel: John 10:11-18
Jesus calls himself the Good Shep­herd in contrast to the hired hands, who abandon the sheep when danger threatens.
11“I am the Good Shepherd. The Good Shepherd lays down his life for the sheep. 12The hired man, who is not a shepherd, does not own the sheep. He sees the wolf coming, leaves the sheep, and runs away. Then the wolf attacks the sheep and scatters them. 13Because he works for money, he does not care about the sheep.

14“I am the Good Shepherd. I know my sheep and my sheep know me 15(just as the Father knows me and I know the Father). And I lay down my life for the sheep. 16I also have other sheep that are not of this sheep pen. I must bring them also, and they will listen to my voice. Then there will be one flock and one shepherd. 17This is why the Father loves me, because I lay down my life so that I may take it up again. 18No one takes it from me, but I lay it down on my own. I have the authority to lay it down, and I have the authority to take it up again. This is the commission I received from my Father.”

C:  Praise be to you, O Christ!


Hymn of the Day: 375 The King of Love My Shepherd Is


1  The King of love my shepherd is, Whose goodness fails me never;

I nothing lack if I am his, And he is mine forever.


2  Where streams of living water flow, My Savior gently leads me;

And where the verdant pastures grow, With food celestial feeds me.


3  Confused and foolish oft I strayed, But yet in love he sought me

And on his shoulder gently laid And home, rejoicing, brought me.


4  In death’s dark vale I fear no ill With you, dear Lord, beside me;

Your rod and staff my comfort still, Your cross before to guide me.

5  You spread a table in my sight, A banquet here bestowing;

Your oil of welcome, my delight; My cup is overflowing!


6  And so through all the length of days Your goodness fails me never.

Good Shepherd, may I sing your praise Within your house forever!


Text: Henry W. Baker, 1821-77, alt.



Apostles’ Creed

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

I believe 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. He descended into hell. The third day he rose again from the dead. He ascended into heaven and is seated at the right hand of God the Father almighty. From there he will come to judge the living and the dead.

I believe in the Holy Spirit, the holy Christian Church, the communion of saints, the forgiveness of sins, the resurrection of the body, and the life everlasting. Amen.



Offering Prayer

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Prayer of the Church


Lord’s Prayer

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 forever and ever. Amen.


Hymn: 545 Send, O Lord, Your Holy Spirit

1  Send, O Lord, your Holy Spirit On your servants now, we pray;

Let them all be faithful shepherds That no lamb is led astray.

Your pure teaching to proclaim, To adore your holy name,

And to feed your lambs, dear Savior, Make their aim and sole endeavor.

2  You, O Lord, yourself have called them For your precious lambs to care;

But to prosper in their calling, They the Spirit’s gifts must share.

Grant them wisdom from above; Fill their hearts with holy love.

In their weakness, Lord, be near them; In their prayers, Good Shepherd, hear them.


3  Help, Lord Jesus, help them nourish Our dear children with your Word,

That in constant love they serve you Till in heav’n their song is heard.

Boundless blessings, Lord, bestow On your servants’ work below

Till by grace to them is given Their reward, the crown of heaven.


Text: German hymn, 19th century; tr. Frederick W. Herzberger, 1859-1930, alt.


Prayer and Blessing


P: O Lord God, our heavenly Father, pour out the Holy Spirit on your faithful people. Keep us strong in your grace and truth, protect and comfort us in all temptation, and bestow on us your saving peace, through Jesus Christ, our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever.



P: Almighty God, we thank you for teaching us the things you want us to believe and do. Help us by your Holy Spirit to keep your Word in pure hearts that we may be strengthened in faith, guided in holiness, and comforted in life and in death, through Jesus Christ, our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever.

C:  A-men.


P: Brothers and sisters, go in peace. Live in harmony with one another. Serve the Lord with gladness.

The Lord bless you and keep you.

The Lord make his face shine on you and be gracious to you.

The Lord look on you with favor and + give you peace.

C:  A-men, A-men, A-men


Closing Hymn: 214 Jerusalem the Golden


1  Jerusalem the golden, With milk and honey blest-

The sight of it refreshes The weary and oppressed.

I know not, oh, I know not What joys await us there,

What radiancy of glory, What bliss beyond compare.


2  They stand, those halls of Zion, All jubilant with song

And bright with many an angel And all the martyr throng.

The Prince is ever in them; The daylight is serene;

The pastures of the blessed Are ever rich and green.


3  There is the throne of David, And there, from care released,

The shout of them that triumph, The song of them that feast;

And they who with their leader Have conquered in the fight

Forever and forever Are clad in robes of white.


4  Oh, sweet and blessed country, The home of God’s elect!

Oh, sweet and blessed country That eager hearts expect!

Jesus, in mercy bring us To that dear land of rest;

You are with God the Father And Spirit ever blest.


Text: Bernard of Cluny, 12th century, abr.; tr. John M. Neale, 1818-66, alt.