Chapel – May 13, 2014

The peace of Christ be with you!

For our chapel service today we had a great crowd! Our theme was God as the great shepherd. After our traditional greeting and welcome I opened our worship with prayer.

We are standing at the gate, o loving Shepherd, not sure about the journey. But you have called our names, and in your voice we hear such love and surety. Bring us safely on the journey and strengthen us that we may serve you in all that we do. AMEN.

David Hunt played a beautiful prelude for us which was followed by our call to worship.

Call to Worship (Based on Psalm 23 & John 10)
Leader: Can you hear the voice of God?
People: We hear God calling us by name.
Leader: Are you troubled or distressed?
People: We come here to find a place to rest for awhile.
Leader: Come and find a guide who knows these lands.
People: We come to praise our Shepherding God,
whose pathways and doors lead to life.

Our first hymn today was “Praise to the Lord, the Almighty” in which each stanza addresses a different aspect of the nature of God: creator, sovereign, defender and befriender, refuge, and protector. We followed this hymn with a reading of the gospel lesson from John 10:1-10.

Many versifications of Psalm 23 act as hymns of assurance and confessions of trust. We know the text well – “The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want.” The song we sang next, “Savior, Like a Shepherd Lead Us,”  attributed to Dorothy Thrupp, differs from those texts. Rather than an assertion of our faith, it is a prayer that stems from our faith. It goes, if you will, a step further than the psalm’s declaration. We know that God is our Shepherd. We know why we trust. And because we have that trust, we ask that God be faithful. We acknowledge our dependency and our emptiness, and ask that God would provide. We ask not in doubt, but in faith. Every verse of this hymn contains a promise we have from God, and a prayer we make because of that promise.

We next had a time of prayer where our elders had the opportunity to ask prayer for their families and the loved ones and everyone here at Morgantown Care and Rehab. We next sang one of my favorite hymns, a hymn that I often sing with people who are distressed or troubled. God Will Take Care of You,is a wonderful song that reminds us of God’s promises.

God will take care of you,
Thro’ ev’ry day,
O’er all the way;
He will take care of you,
God will take care of you.

My sermon for today was titled “Surely Goodness and Mercy …” and our text was Psalm 23.

 “The Hebrew here may be translated, “Surely goodness and kindness shall dog me all my life.” Imagine that. Every moment of life God is pursuing us, hounding us with goodness and kindness. Like a hound on the scent. Baying and barking excitedly as he approaches.”

We closed our worship today with a stirring round of “It Is Well with My Soul.” And today instead of me pronouncing a benediction over the people we had a congregational benediction where we recited the 23rd Psalm. It was beautiful!

Congregational Benediction
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
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.