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Psalm 68:32-34 (RSV)
32 Sing to God, O kingdoms of the earth;
sing praises to the Lord,Selah
33 to him who rides in the heavens, the ancient heavens;
lo, he sends forth his voice, his mighty voice.
34 Ascribe power to God,
whose majesty is over Israel,
and his power is in the skies.
John 17:1-11 (RSV)
Jesus Prays for His Disciples
17 When Jesus had spoken these words, he lifted up his eyes to heaven and said, “Father, the hour has come; glorify thy Son that the Son may glorify thee, 2 since thou hast given him power over all flesh, to give eternal life to all whom thou hast given him. 3 And this is eternal life, that they know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom thou hast sent. 4 I glorified thee on earth, having accomplished the work which thou gavest me to do; 5 and now, Father, glorify thou me in thy own presence with the glory which I had with thee before the world was made.
6 “I have manifested thy name to the men whom thou gavest me out of the world; thine they were, and thou gavest them to me, and they have kept thy word. 7 Now they know that everything that thou hast given me is from thee; 8 for I have given them the words which thou gavest me, and they have received them and know in truth that I came from thee; and they have believed that thou didst send me. 9 I am praying for them; I am not praying for the world but for those whom thou hast given me, for they are thine; 10 all mine are thine, and thine are mine, and I am glorified in them. 11 And now I am no more in the world, but they are in the world, and I am coming to thee. Holy Father, keep them in thy name, which thou hast given me, that they may be one, even as we are one.
Revised Standard Version (RSV)
Revised Standard Version of the Bible, copyright © 1946, 1952, and 1971 the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved
photo taken and provided by myself— Michelle Swim
Psalm 31:1-5 (RSV)
31 In thee, O Lord, do I seek refuge;
let me never be put to shame;
in thy righteousness deliver me!
2 Incline thy ear to me,
rescue me speedily!
Be thou a rock of refuge for me,
a strong fortress to save me!
3 Yea, thou art my rock and my fortress;
for thy name’s sake lead me and guide me,
4 take me out of the net which is hidden for me,
for thou art my refuge.
5 Into thy hand I commit my spirit;
thou hast redeemed me, O Lord, faithful God.
John 14:1-14 (RSV)
Jesus the Way to the Father
14 “Let not your hearts be troubled; believe in God, believe also in me. 2 In my Father’s house are many rooms; if it were not so, would I have told you that I go to prepare a place for you? 3 And when I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and will take you to myself, that where I am you may be also. 4 And you know the way where I am going.” 5 Thomas said to him, “Lord, we do not know where you are going; how can we know the way?” 6 Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father, but by me. 7 If you had known me, you would have known my Father also; henceforth you know him and have seen him.”8 Philip said to him, “Lord, show us the Father, and we shall be satisfied.” 9 Jesus said to him, “Have I been with you so long, and yet you do not know me, Philip? He who has seen me has seen the Father; how can you say, ‘Show us the Father’? 10 Do you not believe that I am in the Father and the Father in me? The words that I say to you I do not speak on my own authority; but the Father who dwells in me does his works. 11 Believe me that I am in the Father and the Father in me; or else believe me for the sake of the works themselves.12 “Truly, truly, I say to you, he who believes in me will also do the works that I do; and greater works than these will he do, because I go to the Father. 13 Whatever you ask in my name, I will do it, that the Father may be glorified in the Son; 14 if you ask anything in my name, I will do it.
Psalm 23 (KJV)
23 The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want.
2 He maketh me to lie down in green pastures: he leadeth me beside the still waters.
3 He restoreth my soul: he leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name’s sake.
4 Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me.
5 Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies: thou anointest my head with oil; my cup runneth over.
6 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.
John 10:1-15 (RSV)
Jesus the Good Shepherd
10 “Truly, truly, I say to you, he who does not enter the sheepfold by the door but climbs in by another way, that man is a thief and a robber; 2 but he who enters by the door is the shepherd of the sheep. 3 To him the gatekeeper opens; the sheep hear his voice, and he calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. 4 When he has brought out all his own, he goes before them, and the sheep follow him, for they know his voice. 5 A stranger they will not follow, but they will flee from him, for they do not know the voice of strangers.” 6 This figure Jesus used with them, but they did not understand what he was saying to them.
7 So Jesus again said to them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, I am the door of the sheep. 8 All who came before me are thieves and robbers; but the sheep did not heed them. 9 I am the door; if any one enters by me, he will be saved, and will go in and out and find pasture. 10 The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly. 11 I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep. 12 He who is a hireling and not a shepherd, whose own the sheep are not, sees the wolf coming and leaves the sheep and flees; and the wolf snatches them and scatters them. 13 He flees because he is a hireling and cares nothing for the sheep. 14 I am the good shepherd; I know my own and my own know me, 15 as the Father knows me and I know the Father; and I lay down my life for the sheep.
Revised Standard Version (RSV)
Revised Standard Version of the Bible, copyright © 1946, 1952, and 1971 the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved.
Alleluia! Christ is risen!
The Lord is risen, indeed! Alleluia!
We begin our Call to Worship each Sunday during Eastertide with the above greeting, a true statement of our faith. Although Easter Sunday, the Day of the Resurrection of our Lord, Jesus Christ, has come and gone, we still celebrate the glories of the Easter season for seven Sundays before we celebrate the birth of the Church on Pentecost Sunday, which will fall on June 4 this year. Though we will celebrate the Easter season and the glory of the Resurrection all through the month of May, in truth, we celebrate the Risen Lord all year long.
I hope that you were able to make it to some, or maybe even all of our Holy Week services. Our Maundy Thursday and Good Friday services, those in which we were joined by our friends from First Presbyterian Church, were, to put it bluntly, powerful. Along with the Ash Wednesday service on March 1, we had three really great worship opportunities.
On Sundays in May, we will celebrate our worship around certain themes as we mark certain Sundays in our church year. The fourth Sunday of Easter is always Good Shepherd Sunday, and falls on May 7. We will say the 23rd Psalm in unison, and will sing hymns that are paraphrases of that beloved psalm. May 14 is Mother’s Day—that certainly needs no direction nor explanation, as we will celebrate our mothers—those that are here with us, and those, like my mother, who have gone on to their heavenly home. Our youth will be in charge of worship on May 21, Youth Sunday. I know you won’t want to miss our kids in positions of leadership that day. And finally, May 26 will be our Memorial Sunday, where we remember those in our midst who have departed this life in this past year. This year we will remember Reta Carter, Dorris Kidd, and Claudie Case.
I thank God every day that your have entrusted the pastoral leadership of First Christian Church to me. As we mark 11 months together, I want you to know that I truly believe that we are headed in the right direction. In the coming months, I would like to see us meet together and redefine our mission—in Plainview and the surrounding communities, and in our world. Let’s talk about where we’re heading, and what the road that we’re on might look like. I believe that this is important for any faith community to do periodically.
On a personal note, Sarah and I are rejoicing that our youngest daughter, Rachel, has landed her first job in her chosen field, counseling psychology, and will be moving to Weatherford soon. When that move comes to full fruition, Sarah and I can concentrate on “getting here.” Thank you so much for all of your prayers, good thoughts, and well-wishes, both for Rachel, and for the completion of our transition process. Sarah and I are looking forward to being here, on-site, and, of course, being together every day.