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Fourth Sunday of Easter "The Good Shepherd by Pr. Jim


25 April 2021

Grace Lutheran Church

Ashland, Oregon

The Rev. James A. Kabel, Intentional Interim


In the Name of our Risen and Victorious Lord, welcome to Grace Lutheran Church. We are happy that you have joined us for worship this morning. Through Word and Sacrament, Christ our Good Shepherd promises to lead and guide his people. May today’s worship be a blessing to you as he reveals his love for you and assures you of his presence in your life. If you are a guest or visitor and have not done so already, please honor us by signing our Guest Book in the entrance hall of the church as you leave. If you have no church home of your own in the area, we invite you to make Grace Lutheran Church the center of your worship, learning, fellowship, and service. Pastor Jim or this morning’s lay assistant will be happy to answer any questions you may have concerning our parish. Come to worship with us again and often!

AS WE GATHER   Shepherd Me, O God

Jesus is indeed our Good Shepherd. Because of that, we have everything we need. At times we are tempted to turn that around, saying instead that because I have everything I want and need, Jesus is now my Good Shepherd. Jesus is our staff and stay in good times and bad, sickness and health, prosperity or want. No matter what our circumstances may be, by faith we can be led to see and say that “the Lord is my Shepherd; nothing indeed shall I want.”


Heavenly Father, you sent your Son to show us your love and the way of life. Make us sincerely thankful for this gift and your patience with our sins and sorrows. We ask this in the Name of your Son, Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.


PRE-SERVICE MUSIC On Eagles’ Wings LSB 727

Savior, Like a Shepherd Lead Us LSB 711



PRELUDE Cantilena—Carson Cooman

Tatsiana Ascheichyk, Piano


Alleluia! The Lord is risen!

He is risen indeed! Alleluia!

Jesus Christ was the first to conquer death, the

Ruler of all the kings of the earth.

He loves us, and by his blood he has set

us free from our sins.

Let us therefore approach the throne of grace

with boldness, so that we may receive mercy,

and find grace to help in time of trouble.


Most merciful God, we confess that we are dead in trespasses and sins. We have doubted your promises, despaired of your presence, and denied your saving power. In your great mercy deliver us from the death we deserve, for the sake of Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

According to the Father’s will, the Good Shepherd has laid down his life for the sheep and taken it up again. In him we have been forgiven. In his stead and by his authority that word of forgiveness is now proclaimed to you. Your sins are forgiven in the Name of the Father, and of the + Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.

We are risen to new life!

In Christ, we are risen indeed!



The grace of our Risen Savior, the love of God, and the communion of the

Holy Spirit be with you all. And also with you.

NOW THE FEAST   (Please join in singing.)

Refrain:     Now the feast and celebration,

All of creation sings for joy

to the God of life and love and freedom:

praise and glory forevermore!

  1. Now is the feast of the Lamb once slain, whose blood has freed and united us to

be one great people of God. Refrain

  1. Power and riches, wisdom and might, all honor and glory to Christ forever. Refrain
  1. For God has come to dwell with us, to make us people of God; to make all things new.  Refrain      


Almighty God our Father, you called from death our Lord Jesus, the great shepherd of the sheep. Send us as shepherds to rescue the lost, to heal

the injured, and to feed one another with knowledge and understanding;

through Jesus Christ, our Savior and Lord, who lives and reigns with you

and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen.

FIRST LESSON 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.]

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

The word of the Lord.

                        Thanks be to God!

PSALM 23 (Please join Worship Team in singing the Refrain)

            Refrain: 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 besides quiet waters. Refrain

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. Refrain

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. Refrain

SECOND LESSON 1st 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.]

We know love by this, that [Jesus Christ] laid down his life for us—and we ought to lay down our lives for one another. How does Gods’ love abide in anyone who has the world’s goods and sees a brother or sister in need and yet refuses help?

Little children, let us love, not in word or speech, but in truth and action. And by this we will know that we are from the truth and will reassure our hearts before him wherever our hearts condemn us; for God is greater than our hearts, and

he knows everything. Beloved, if our hearts do not condemn us, we have boldness before God; and we receive from him whatever we ask because we obey his commandments and do what pleases him.

And 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. All 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.

The word of the Lord.

Thanks be to God!

SPECIAL MUSIC Christ, Whose Glory Fills the Skies—Lani Smith

GOSPEL John 10:11-18

The Holy Gospel according to John, the 10th chapter. Glory to you, O Lord.

[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:] “I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep. 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. The hired hand runs away because a hired hand does not care for the sheep. I am the good shepherd. I know my own and my own know me, just as the Father knows me and I know the Father. And I lay down my life for the sheep. I have other sheep that do not belong to the fold. I must bring them also, and they will listen to my voice. So there will be one flock, one shepherd. For this reason the Father loves me, because I lay down my life in order to take it up again. No 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.”

This is the Gospel of the Lord.

     Praise to you, O Christ.

GRACE CHOIR This Is The Day—Scott Soper

HOMILY The Good Shepherd—Pr. Jim Text: The Gospel Lesson

+ In the Name of the Father and of the + Son and of the Holy Spirit. Amen. +

In today’s Gospel, our Lord Jesus speaks of Himself as the Good Shepherd … a fearless and faithful shepherd when danger and wolves threatens His flock … a Shepherd who lays down His life for the sheep … a Shepherd who chooses us—not the other way around.

It's an ever-welcome word … the meaning of which is not lost on us who hold this picture of our Lord dear to our hearts. It’s an image that promises care and safe-keeping—a truth … precious beyond all words … even though it uses an image of another time and place.

The immediate context of today’s is Jesus’ healing of the man born blind (John 9). As John tells it, those who were bent on conflict with Jesus completely dismissed this miraculous sign. Instead, they challenged Jesus to a debate on whose sin it was that caused the blindness … the man’s or his parents’. What unfolds is an amazing display of how one can miss the forest for the trees. Jesus’ answer is sharp and blunt … His main concern was not to win a hopeless argument about the wrong subject by the wrong people for the wrong reason.

He cared about the blind man, who found the attack on Jesus so frightening that he fled. Seeking him, Jesus finds him and deals with him with a tenderness that tells the man who He is. And what response did such care bring? John notes:

“When Jesus found him he asked, ‘Have you faith in the Son of Man?’

The man answered, ‘Tell me who he is, sir, that I should put my faith

in him.’ ‘You have seen him,’ said Jesus, ‘indeed, it is he who is speak-

ing with you.’ ‘Lord, I believe,’ he said, and bowed down before him.’”

John 9:35-38

You and I need to note the wider context in which this event is placed as well. Verse 22 of John 10 tells us that it was the Feast of the Rededication of the Temple. Jesus’ healing of the blind man is a sign of the new temple … not one of stone and marble … but the temple that His body is … the body that the Good Shepherd offered upon the Tree of the Cross … the body that rose from death’s grip on the third day—destroying death and all that goes with it.

To be sure, the shepherding Lord is our comfort when … like the blind man … we have no comfort. And He is our strength when we stand alone … as did the blind man … against the attacks of every power of evil that seeks to blur and mar the healing, restoring work of our Lord.

Jesus, you see, has His eye set far ahead of this particular moment and the blind man.

“I have other sheep who do not belong to this fold,” He says.

And who are they? The Book of Acts begins the answer. Stephen … Paul … Apollos … Timothy … Lydia … Eunice … and Lois are but a few names of the other sheep that are called into the sheepfold. And the list grows and grows … reaching down to our time and place … to include your name and mine.

From the very beginning, God knew you by name and had you in His heart.

… to be dedicated, to be without blemish in his sight, to be full of love;

… he destined us—such was his will and pleasure—to be accepted as

his sons and daughters through Jesus Christ, in order that the glory of

his gracious gift, so graciously bestowed on us in his Beloved, might

redound to his praise. Ephesians 1:3-6

But … we’re not the only ones in His heart.

It’s the urgency of that message that defines our ministry here in the place called Grace Lutheran Church. It puts backbone into our calling as His own. Being comforted, we are to be comforters in His Name. Searched out and rescued from wolves that devour, we are part of a search and rescue team. As those restored to the fold, we are to make room for others who are no less dear to our Lord.

These gospel words of our Lord point us beyond ourselves. They point us to the mission in which He enlists each and every one of us.

On this 4th Sunday of Easter who was it that was enlisted to pass on the love of Christ to you in word and deed? For many of us blessed with mothers and fathers of faith, it was from their lips that we first learned our prayers and heard the story of Jesus. It was in their arms that we were comforted. By their hands and heart, we were guided. It all begins at home.

And among our mothers and fathers are those who mentored our faith … Sunday School teachers … grandparents … aunts and uncles … baby-sitters … and all the other people of faith who have blessed us. All of them … part of God’s plan … servants of the Good Shepherd whose must motivates us anew today.

No vocation is higher than that calling. No job … no profession … no schedule … no weariness more important than that of parenting (or grandparenting) and mentoring. Today’s Gospel calls all of us to do our part in the Good Shepherd’s search for His sheep within our families … neighborhoods … communities.

Long ago, St. Augustine wrote: “Our hearts are restless until they find rest in you, O Lord.” As I observe the world in which I find myself, I believe that people want more than the security and life goals that the 21st Century has to offer. I’m convinced that people … the other sheep as Jesus calls them … are hungry and restless for that which transcends their daily routine and the yawning grave at the end of life’s road … hungry and restless for the message and hope of God’s love in Christ Jesus, our Lord. His Word and His love will not fail.

So on with it then … on with the search for the other sheep. Armed with prayer and care … courage and wisdom … you will find the right ways … the right words … and the right time to join the Good Shepherd who calls, gathers, enlightens, and sanctifies His own by the power of His Spirit.

+ In the Name of the Father and of the + Son and of the Holy Spirit. Amen. +

APOSTOLIC 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.

He descended into hell.

The third day He rose again from the dead.

He ascended into heaven

and sits at the right hand of God the Father Almighty.

From thence 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. Amen.


Alive in the risen Christ by the power of the Holy Spirit, let us pray for the Church, the world, and all those in need.

Loving Shepherd, you know your own and your own know you. Your voice calls us to your loving embrace. Strengthen your Church throughout the world that we bear witness to your great love. Lord, in your mercy, hear our prayer.

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. Cultivate in us care for all that you have made so that all the earth may be sustained for future generations as well as our own. Lord, in your mercy, hear our prayer.

Hope-giving Shepherd, the nations and peoples are your heritage. Place into the hearts of all world leaders and rulers the passion to serve with justice and mercy. Remove any desire to overcome others and give all leaders and legislators joy in lifting up the lowly as they shepherd your people in the ways of your love. Lord, in your mercy, hear our prayer.

Abiding Shepherd, your love flows as we reach out to those around us. Move us with your Spirit, so that we may lay down our lives for those in need. Grant your compassion to those who are ill and weary in their struggle with health concerns especially Charlie and Marguerite (MaryAnn’s father and mother), Rusty (under hospice care), Shari (continued cancer therapy), those suffering from COVID-19, together with those we name in our hearts that they may receive hope, healing, and the mercies rendered by us as God’s people as we pray for them. Bless the hands of the surgeon and technicians as they care for and bring healing to your servant Todd (Dean & Mary’s son) who undergoes surgery this Tuesday for an aortic aneurysm. Assure Todd and his parents of your presence and grant him a speedy recovery. Be close to the hearts of all who are lonely or homebound, especially Sharon, Richard & Doris, Bonnie, Vernia, Elma, and those we name in our hearts that they may be assured of your loving presence in our compassion, prayers, and care for them. Lord, in your mercy, hear our prayer.

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 the pandemic challenges that we face as a congregation, fill us anew with your Holy Spirit. Continue to guide our Call Committee as they prepare to interview the current list of potential candidates for the pastoral office of our parish. Give us patience and keep us mindful that it is your Spirit who leads and guides us, and will in due time provide us with a pastor yet unknown to us but known and loved by you. Lord, in your mercy, hear our prayer.

Eternal Shepherd, you hold us securely in your loving hands. In the assurance of resurrection hope, we remember those who have gone before us with the sign of faith and now see you as you are. Bring us with them, we pray, to dwell in your house forever. Lord, in your mercy, hear our prayer.

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. Amen.


Heavenly Father, we welcome this day of Resurrection with it is opportunity

to bring gifts to a loving God. Receive these offerings, we pray, as our joyful celebration of our new life in Jesus your Son. And through the bread and

wine we have presented, share your new life with us. Through the same

Jesus Christ our Savior and Lord. Amen.


                                The Lord be with you.

   And also with you.

Lift up your hearts.

   We lift them to the Lord.

Let us give thanks to the Lord our God.

   It is right to give him thanks and praise.

Blessed are you, O holy God:

You are the Life and Light of all.

By your powerful word you created all things.

Through the prophets you called your people

to be a light to the nations

Blessed are you for Jesus, your Son.

He is your Light, shining in our darkness

And revealing to us your mercy and might.


In the night in which he was betrayed,

our Lord Jesus took bread, and gave thanks;

broke it, and gave it to his disciples saying:

Take and eat; this is my + body which is given

for you. Do this in remembrance of me.

Again, after supper, he took the cup, gave thanks,

And gave it for all to drink, saying:

This cup is the new covenant in my + blood

shed for you and for all people for the forgiveness

of sin. Do this in remembrance of me.

Remembering, therefore, his preaching and healing,

his dying and rising, and his promise to come again,

we await that day when all the universe will rejoice in

your holy and life-giving light.

                    Come, Lord Jesus, live in us that we may live in you.

By your Spirit bless us and this meal, that refreshed with

this heavenly food, we may be light for the world, revealing

The brilliance of your Son.

Amen. Come, Holy Spirit.

Through him all glory and honor are yours, Almighty Father,

with the Holy Spirit, in your holy Church, both now and

forever. Amen.


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.


The peace of the Lord be with you always. And also with you.


Distribution Music You satisfy the hungry heart LSB 641



Lord Jesus Christ, in this meal you have put gladness in our hearts. Satisfy the hunger still around us, and send us as joyful witnesses of

all that you have done for us, so that your love may bring joy to the

hearts of all people. We ask this is your Name. Amen.


SONG Thanks Be to You(Join in singing)

  1. Praise to you, O God of mercy: Thanks be to you forever!

Raising high the weak and lowly: Thanks be to you forever!

  1. From of old you loved and sought us: Thanks be to you forever!

Truth and justice you have taught us: Thanks be to you forever!

Strong is your faithfulness, strong is your love,

Rememb’ring your covenant of love with us.

  1. Praise to you, O God of mercy: Thanks be to you forever!

Raising high the weak and lowly: Thanks be to you forever!

Thanks be to you forever!


Alleluia! Christ is risen.

             He is risen indeed. Alleluia!

Go in peace. Serve the Lord.

             Thanks be to God!       

+ With Great Boldness … Tell Everyone What He Has Done! +

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