Cindy and I worked with the staff on a bunch of ideas for Sunday worship, and this week, our best effort is here. In the weeks to come, this format will likely evolve, as long as we remain genuine, practical, and approachable.
If you would like for the video to accompany the written liturgy, it is here for you.
If you only want the video or the written liturgy, they both work well alone also.
Again, in the weeks to come, assuming we miss a few weeks or gathering in person, we will get better. But for now, we have given you our best and are thankful you are engaging from wherever you are.
God Bless, Chris Aho
If you have any trouble, you may access the video here on youtube.
WELCOME TO WORSHIP – Take a few moments to prepare yourself and those gathered for worship.
LITANY FOR WORSHIP – (This may be read in unison and shared between two people in your home)
READER I: The Holy One shows us the way, even when we do not know where to go.
READER II: We are called to live as children of light abiding in all that is good and right and true.
READER I: The Holy One leads us in pleasant places, filling our hearts with the waters of life.
READER II: We are called to follow Jesus, bringing Christ’s light into the shadows.
READER I: The Holy One shows us the paths to peace, comforting us in times of trouble.
READER II: We are called to become the body of Christ, pouring out our lives for the healing of the world.
HYMN – “Savior, Like a Shepherd Lead Us” W. Bradbury
(sing or read these words together)
Savior, like a shepherd lead us, much we need Thy tender care.
In Thy pleasant pastures feed us, for our use Thy folds prepare.
Blessed Jesus, blessed Jesus, Thou hast brought us, Thine we are;
Blessed Jesus, blessed Jesus, Thou hast brought us, Thine we are.
Early let us seek Thy favor. Early let us do Thy will.
Blessed Lord and only Savior, with Thy love our beings fill.
Blessed Jesus, blessed Jesus, Thou hast loved us, loved us still.
Blessed Jesus, blessed Jesus, Thou hast loved us, loved us still.
SCRIPTURE READING – Psalm 23, KJV
(A Psalm of David.)
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 death, 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 forever.
MUSIC FOR WORSHIP – “By the Gentle Waters” Sanctuary Choir – C. Berry
(Prayerfully consider these words)
By the gentle waters, you will safely lead me, in green pastures feed me, knowing what is best.
Though I often stray, wander far away, I can hear you say, “Come to me and rest.”
Though the path be rough and rugged, though the trail be dark and steep, still the gentle
Shepherd watches o’er His sheep. There’s no need to fear when the Shepherd’s near.
When your voice I hear, I find comfort sure.
Free from all alarm, sheltered from all harm, safely in Your arms I can rest secure.
With the flock abiding, all my needs supplying; comforting and guiding; leading all the way. Jesus, loving Shepherd, You’ll forsake me never. In Your flock forever, I am not alone. Though the darkness hide me, You are close beside me. Gentle Shepherd,
guide me ‘til I’m safely home.
© 1999, Van Ness Press CCLI # 1049296
Near this part of the service each week, we take up an offering. It is important for us to remember that our offering not only supports the ministry of the church but is an expression of our thankfulness for all God has given us. We give today because God first gave to us. You may give online through our website, OxfordBaptistNC.org
A MORNING DEVOTIONAL – Chris Aho
This morning we share in “at-home worship” because we are doing our best to keep our distance and slow the spread of the COVID-19 coronavirus. But this is strange, isn’t it? We usually cancel church when we can see that the weather is bad, but this time we cannot see the invisible virus. I suppose it is good Christians embrace the invisible when we remember, “He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation” Colossians 1.15.
Amid the upheaval of these strange times, we turn to a scripture reading that fits our needs from the invisible God very well. The appointed Psalm reading for this Sunday is Psalm 23, as you read above. These words are familiar and comforting. They also point to how our shepherd may lead us right now through the uncertainty of what could be many days ahead.
In any time of uncertainty, it is important to have patterns, practices, and assurances to carry us forward. The beginning of the 23rd Psalm offers that through the words:
The Lord is My shepherd, I shall not want.
He makes me lie down in green pastures;
He leads me beside the still waters;
He restores my soul.
This week we have had to stop. We now keep “social distance.” The familiar things we anticipated keeping us busy are gone, and many in our town and neighborhoods face considerable uncertainty. As people who look to the invisible God, Psalm 23 reminds us that we have a shepherd for these times. The Lord, our shepherd, in this time, just might make us lie down and rest. The shepherd may take us along the still waters. And with rest, a pause, and some quiet, what the shepherd does is, restore our souls.
Just a week ago, we had a full fellowship hall for dinner on Wednesday night. Vespers, choirs, and children’s programming all ran on schedule. But the next day, things changed. And as life changes, we must look somewhere. I do not know where you look, but I hope you will look to the Lord, your shepherd. As we stay home, keep our distance, and maybe rest more than we would otherwise want to, I pray we are restored. I pray that by following our invisible shepherd, when we find a slower pace and some rest, we will be restored. And I pray that even though we are absent from one another, we will all draw closer to the invisible, but present God, who will surely bring us together in the days to come. And when that happens, what a celebration it will be!
(read together in unison)
The Lord is our shepherd. We shall not want.
In green pastures, we rest secure; our shepherd leads us forth.
By still waters, we rest secure; our shepherd brings us abundant life.
We move forward with the blessings of our Shepherd.