Fourth Sunday of Easter

May 3, 2020

Today is sometimes called “Good Shepherd Sunday.” Jesus is called the “gate” of the sheep in today’s gospel. The risen Christ opens the way to abundant life. He anoints our heads with oil and guides us beside the still waters of our baptism. He spreads a feast before us amid the world’s violence and war. We go forth to be signs of the resurrection and extend God’s tender care to all creation.

GATHERING          The Holy Spirit calls us together as the people of God


In the name of the Father, and of the + Son, and of the Holy Spirit.  


Almighty God, to whom all hearts are open, all desires known, and from whom no secrets are hid: cleanse the thoughts of our hearts by the inspiration of your Holy Spirit, that we may perfectly love you and worthily magnify your holy name, through Jesus Christ our Lord.


Let us confess our sin in the presence of God and of one another.

Silence for reflection

Most merciful God,

we confess that we are captive to sin and cannot free ourselves.  We have sinned against you in thought, word, and deed, by what we have done and by what we have left undone.  We have not loved you with our whole heart; we have not loved our neighbors as ourselves.  For the sake of your Son, Jesus Christ, have mercy on us.  Forgive us, renew us, and lead us, so that we may delight in your will and walk in your ways, to the glory of your holy name.  Amen.

In the mercy of almighty God, Jesus Christ was given to die for us, and for his sake God forgives us all our sins.  As a called and ordained minister of the church of Christ, and by his authority, I therefore declare to you the entire forgiveness of all your sins, in the name of the Father, and of the + Son, and of the Holy Spirit. 



Alleluia!  Christ is risen!

He is risen indeed!  Alleluia!

HYMN “I’m So Glad Jesus Lifted Me” WOV #673


The grace of our risen Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, the love of God, and the communion of the Holy Spirit be with you all.

And also with you.


Let us pray.      

O God our shepherd, you know your sheep by name and lead us to safety through the valleys of death. Guide us by your voice, that we may walk in certainty and security to the joyous feast prepared in your house, through Jesus Christ, our Savior and Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever.


WORD               God speaks to us in scripture reading, preaching, and song

FIRST READING    Acts 2:42 – 47

A reading from the book of Acts of the Apostles:

[The baptized] devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers.
 43Awe came upon everyone, because many wonders and signs were being done by the apostles. 44All who believed were together and had all things in common; 45they would sell their possessions and goods and distribute the proceeds to all, as any had need. 46Day by day, as they spent much time together in the temple, they broke bread at home and ate their food with glad and generous hearts, 47praising God and having the goodwill of all the people. And day by day the Lord added to their number those who were being saved.

The word of the Lord.

Thanks be to God.

PSALMODY            Psalm 23

The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want;
he makes me lie down in green pastures.
    He leads me beside still waters; he restores my soul.

He leads me in paths of righteousness  for his name’s sake.

Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death,   I 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 my enemies;
thou anointest my head with oil,
    my cup overflows.
Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me
    all the days of my life;
and I shall dwell in the house of the Lord

SECOND READING       1 Peter 2:19 – 25

A reading from the First letter of Peter:

19It is a credit to you if, being aware of God, you endure pain while suffering unjustly. 20If you endure when you are beaten for doing wrong, what credit is that? But if you endure when you do right and suffer for it, you have God’s approval. 21For to this you have been called, because Christ also suffered for you, leaving you an example, so that you should follow in his steps.
22“He committed no sin,
and no deceit was found in his mouth.”
23When he was abused, he did not return abuse; when he suffered, he did not threaten; but he entrusted himself to the one who judges justly. 24He himself bore our sins in his body on the cross, so that, free from sins, we might live for righteousness; by his wounds you have been healed. 25For you were going astray like sheep, but now you have returned to the shepherd and guardian of your souls.

The word of the Lord.

Thanks be to God.

In many and various ways God spoke to the people of old through the prophets

But now in these last days, God has spoken to us through his Son.

GOSPEL READING                John 10:1 – 10

The Holy Gospel according to St. John, the 10th chapter.

Glory to you, O Lord.

[Jesus said:] 1“Very truly, I tell you, anyone who does not enter the sheepfold by the gate but climbs in by another way is a thief and a bandit. 2The one who enters by the gate is the shepherd of the sheep. 3The gatekeeper opens the gate for him, and the sheep hear his voice. He calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. 4When he has brought out all his own, he goes ahead of them, and the sheep follow him because they know his voice. 5They will not follow a stranger, but they will run from him because they do not know the voice of strangers.” 6Jesus used this figure of speech with them, but they did not understand what he was saying to them.
 7So again Jesus said to them, “Very truly, I tell you, I am the gate for the sheep. 8All who came before me are thieves and bandits; but the sheep did not listen to them. 9I am the gate. Whoever enters by me will be saved, and will come in and go out and find pasture. 10The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly.”

The Gospel of the Lord.

Praise to you, O Christ.  

SERMON                                                 The Rev. Leslie M. Richard

HYMN OF THE DAY      “Precious Lord, Take My Hand”         WOV #731

1. Precious Lord, take my hand Lead me on, help me stand I am tired, I am weak, I am worn. Through the storm, through the night Lead me on to the light, Take my hand, precious Lord, Lean me home.

2. When my way grows drear Precious Lord, linger near, When my life is almost gone, Hear my cry, hear my call, Hold my hand, lest I fall. Take my hand, precious Lord, Lead me home.

3. When the darkness appears And the night draws near, and the day is past and gone At the river I stand, Guide my feet, hold my hand. Take my hand, precious Lord, Lead me home.

Text: George N. Allen Tune: Thomas A. Dorsey © Unichappell Music, Inc. OneLicense A-701163OneLicense A-701163Text: George N. Allen Tune: Thomas A. Dorsey © Unichappell Music, Inc. OneLicense A-701163

PROFESSION OF FAITH                Apostles’ Creed

God has made us his people through our Baptism into Christ. Living together in trust and hope, we confess our faith.

I believe in God, the Father almighty, creator of heaven and earth.  I believe in Jesus Christ, his only Son, our Lord.  He was conceived by the power of the Holy Spirit and born of the virgin Mary.  He suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, died, and was buried.  He descended to the dead.  On the third day he rose again.  He ascended into heaven, and is seated at the right hand of the Father.  He will come again 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


         Those who wish to make an offering to St. Matthew may use the green GIVE button on our website: www.stmattspringfield.org, or mail it to
St. Matthew Lutheran Church, 400 Lynbrooke Rd., Springfield, PA 19064

         Those who wish to make an offering to Grace may mail it to
Grace Lutheran Church, 2191 West Chester Pike, Broomall, PA  19008


The peace of Christ be with you always.

And also with you.


Penned up in our homes but united in the one flock of believers, we pray for the church, the earth, the world, and all in need, asking God our Shepherd using the words, “restore our life.”

A brief silence.

For the church, O God, we pray: that we will hear and follow your voice calling to us in the word; that bishops and pastors be sustained for their shepherding tasks; that churches devastated by the virus be upheld; that in this time churches find ways to continue their ministries of education and service:

A brief silence.

O God, faithful shepherd of the church,
restore our life.

For the earth we pray: that lands and waters be renewed; that animals and plants enjoy safe growth; that rain and soil nurture the fields; that drought and floods in Yemen be averted and locusts of Kenya cease their frenzy:

A brief silence.

O God, steadfast gardener of the earth,
restore our life.

For the nations of the world we pray: that heads of state and legislators cooperate for the good of all; that medical experts be heeded; that government moneys serve the nations’ greatest needs; that during Ramadan Muslims are granted release from prejudice:

A brief silence.

O God, fearless peacemaker of the nations,
restore our life.

For a world so economically divided, we pray: that the millions of those unemployed be given food and shelter now and jobs in the future; that children find a fruitful means of education; that refugees be safeguarded from violence and prejudice; that, inspired by the early Christians, those who have means become ever more generous to those who endure great want:

A brief silence.

O God, just protector of the poor,
restore our life.

For all in need we pray: that those afflicted with the coronavirus be cared for; that the sick be healed; that those in despair find hope; that those who are lonely be comforted; that medical workers be safeguarded; that those we name here receive the best possible care:

 A brief silence.

O God, mighty healer of the sick,
restore our life.

For our own desires we pray: that like the shepherds Rachel and David, each tending their father’s flocks, we may be blessed in fulfilling our tasks; and that you hear the cries of our hearts:

A brief silence.

O God, tender shepherd of each of us,
restore our life.

We praise you for the witness of those who have died in the faith, remembering this week: Monica, Julian of Norwich, Nicholaus Zinzendorf, and those recently deceased whom we name before you here. . .
We pray that at our end, as sheep of your own fold, as lambs of your own flock, we will be gathered into your mercy, through Jesus Christ our Savior and Lord.

A brief silence.

O God, gateway to life,
restore our life.

Into your everlasting arms we commend all for whom we pray, trusting in your care for us, through Jesus Christ, our guardian and friend.


Lord, remember us in your kingdom and teach us to pray,

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 Lord bless you and keep you.  The Lord make his face to shine upon you and be gracious to you.  The Lord look upon you with favor and give you peace, In the Name of the Father, and of the + Son, and of the Holy Spirit. 


HYMN     “My Life Flows on in Endless Song”                 WOV #781


Alleluia!  Christ is risen!

He is risen indeed!  Alleluia!

Go in peace. Serve the Risen Lord.

Thanks be to God.  Alleluia!

From Sundays and Seasons.com. Copyright 2007 Augsburg Fortress. All rights reserved. Reprinted by permission under Augsburg Fortress Liturgies Annual License #23793 and OneLicense A-701163

May 3, 2020 Worship Service