The Lord is my Shepherd

This is a communion service based on the 23rd Psalm – you can add hymns/prayers as required.

Psalm 23 talks about God leading us like a shepherd, and it seems certain phrases in the psalm were leading me through this worship. And so I hope I can take you on this journey through psalm 23 as we prepare to meet our God at the communion table.

The Lord is my Shepherd

The first sentence sets the scene. ‘The Lord is my shepherd’ reminded me of the parable of the lost sheep and how I was once prompted to write a sketch about this parable.

Sketch – Lost Sheep (in sketch section of website)

The parable and the sketch remind me that this shepherd doesn’t work by the world’s standards.
If he did, he would not think it was worth the effort to go looking for one sheep.
He would say, I’m better off just looking after the ones that behave themselves.
It was the sheep’s fault for wandering off, so let it find its own way back.
But for this shepherd, every sheep is important. He went and searched and brought it back.
And so it is with God, he doesn’t say you are not worth the effort, instead he keeps looking for you.
We are here now, because God searched for us and brought us here.
Some of us may have been found long ago and we have stayed with him.
Some of us may have had a long journey before we were found.
Some of us may have a habit of keep wandering off and he has to keep coming to get us,
But we are all here today because he has searched for us
Take a moment to think about how God has led you to this place.

He leads by still waters

This evokes powerful memories, of times when I have come upon a place with still waters and been moved by the beauty of the place and felt an amazing sense of peace.

The psalmist is reminding us we need times where we can just be with God and receive his peace. I also feel such times also give us a sense of hope. So many people need a sense of hope and peace.  So it feels appropriate to now share in a peace for prayer.
Offer prayer for peace – (Examples of peace prayers can be found on cofchrist.org.uk)

He leadeth me in right paths

The psalm is still talking about the shepherd leading, but sheep don’t always want to be led by their shepherd.
The question is, are we the same, how good are we at following the leadings of God’s spirit?
Do we want to be led, or do we prefer not to listen and to do our own thing

Reading – Wrong Answer (on reflections section of website)

If we want God to lead us, are we prepared to listen or do we just want to keep doing what we want to do. Do we want exclusion clauses? Or are we willing to be fully open.
Sometimes we are unwilling to respond because we are unsure of where it will lead us, what it will mean. Which leads to the next verse.

For you are with me

Perhaps we sometimes just need to take time to remind ourselves of how God has been with us.
Doing that reminds us that just as he has been with us in the past, he will be there in the future.

Meditation – Come Remember

          Come remember

  It is God who shows us a better way.

                     Who nudges us along life’s path;

                     Who leads us back to his presence.

           Come remember.

(how has God led you to this time?)

          Come remember.   

                    It is God who is our strength;

                               Who gives us a sense of self worth,

                               Who nourishes us in times of stress;

                                Who speaks words of comfort, direction, and truth.

                              Come remember.

(how has God been your strength?)

          Come remember.

           It is God who stands with outstretched arms beckoning;

                               Who is here to bless you with joy and peace;

                              Who is here to open your thoughts to his truths;

                              Who is here to love you in your responses;

Daily God calls each of us

                     Come remember.

(how is God calling to you?)

He prepares a table for us.

So we come to the time to share in our communion meal.
We have been reminded through the Psalm how God has been leading us and supporting us.
He brings us now to share in this meal with him.
A meal is not just about eating and drinking – but also about talking with your host.
So our communion can be more than just eating or drinking, it can be a time of talking to God and telling him how you feel about your relationship with him and whether you want to serve him.
It is up to us how open we want to be, how much we want to tell him.
There is no pressure in this meeting, it’s an invitation given in love, a time to meet with our God.
It is up to us what we want to tell him.
May we each receive God’s blessing as we share this communion with him.

Serve Communion

My cup runneth over

This verse reminds us of our blessings and so it is appropriate place to give our offerings.

I shall dwell in the house of the Lord my whole life long –

Do I want to be stuck in a house forever, it doesn’t sound that much fun.
But what is God’s house? He is not confined to some building. God’s house is his whole creation.
To be in his house is to be involved in the world he has created.
So I don’t see this this last verse as a statement about retreating to some place of safety, but about us being involved and being part of God’s work. The psalm was about God leading us.
So where does he lead us form here. The answer will be different for each one of us.
If we let his spirit lead us, we can become a blessing.

We have been reminded through the psalm that God has been leading us.
And have been reminded that he wants to continue leading us.
May God’s spirit guide you, be with you and support you in your desires to follow him.