April 18, 2021…..The Third Sunday of the Easter Season

known, liturgically, as

Misericordia Domini Sunday  (“the Lord’s Steadfast Love”)

and known, traditionally, as  Good Shepherd Sunday

Faithful Sheep Listen To The Good Shepherd’s Voice


            In our culture, the gracious call of the Good Shepherd is “hidden” in the midst a whole chorus of worldly voices that also cry out to us every day.  These other would-be “shepherds” seek to tempt us away from our  Good Shepherd, from the joy of His forgiveness and from the security of His redeeming love.  Occasionally sheep of the Good Shepherd who allow themselves to become weak or confused can fall victim to the misleading voices of these “false shepherds.”  The following story illustrates this.

            An American tourist was traveling in the Mid East and came upon several shepherds whose flocks had intermingled while drinking water from a brook.   After an exchange of greetings, one of the shepherds turned toward the sheep and called out, “Manah.  Manah.  Manah.”  (Manah means “follow me” in Arabic.) Immediately his sheep separated themselves from the rest and followed him.

Shortly after that, one of the two remaining shepherds called out, “Manah.  Manah” and

his sheep left the common flock to follow him.   The traveler then said to the third shepherd, “I would like to try that.  Could I put on your cloak and turban and see if I can get the rest of the sheep to follow me?”

            The shepherd smiled knowingly as the traveler wrapped himself in the cloak, put the turban on his head and called out, “Manah.  Manah.” The sheep did not respond at all to the stranger’s voice.   Not one of them moved toward him.   “Will these sheep ever follow someone other than you?” The traveler asked.

            “Oh yes,” the shepherd replied, “sometimes a sheep gets sick, and then it will follow anyone.”

            We’ve seen it too, haven’t we?   People, young and old, who are “sick,” spiritually-speaking.   They’re battered and beaten by the storms of life.  Some are distracted and deceived by internal voices of selfishness and stubbornness, or those external voices urging them to satisfy themselves and go their own way…..wherever that leads.    Others – typically those who have disconnected themselves functionally or emotionally from God’s Word – have simply lost their bearings and they don’t know where they are, or where they’re going.  The end result is more than just a little frightening;   it leads to despair,  to hopelessness…..and it can get even worse.   When someone is “spiritually sick” they will follow just about anyone who will promise a moment of happiness, a sense of satisfaction, a brief feeling of peace or forgetfulness, a belief that they are someone “special.”

            But all those many voices lead – not to God and heaven, but – away from God and toward damnation.  

            On the other hand, the call of Jesus the Good Shepherd is simple, clear and it saves our souls: “I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life.” There is no better way, no greater truth, no happier life than that of being a sheep devoted to our Good Shepherd. 

            Let’s attentively listen to His voice again today, as the Good Shepherd of our souls calls out to us through His Word, in love, urging us to follow Him faithfully through this life and into life everlasting.


Good Shepherd Sunday on the Church’s “Calendar”   


            From ancient times, the Christian Church has traditionally designated one of the six Sundays after Easter as “Good Shepherd Sunday.”  Its purpose is to provide Christians with a specific, annual occasion through which we can reflect both upon Jesus’ role as our “Good Shepherd,” and upon our privileged position as His “sheep.”   Historically, the Christian Church has celebrated Good Shepherd Sunday on the Second Sunday after Easter (the 3rd Sunday of the Easter Season), as we are doing this morning.   Early on it was referred to as “Misericordia Domini” Sunday.  The term “Misericordia Domini” is Latin for “the Lord’s steadfast love,” and is taken from the fifth (also, underlined) verse of our Preparatory Psalm for this morning, Psalm 33.    This reading, as well as the rest of today’s Scripture lessons emphasize the importance of trusting in Jesus as our Good Shepherd to lead us through all the trials and troubles of this life, and to ultimately rescue us from any and every adversity by taking us to be with Him in heaven’s pleasant pastures.

            In today’s Old Testament Lesson, Ezekiel 34, we see part of the reason why this Sunday was — centuries ago — given its “liturgical” name:  ”Misericordia Domini,“ as we focus on the relentless, redeeming love of the Good Shepherd, for us, His sheep.   We’ll see that the Shepherd’s love moves Him to seek and deliver the lost and straying, and it further moves Him to faithfully feed and care for His beloved sheep.     Specifically Ezekiel is depicting the Lord as the Good Shepherd to His very undeserving, often-wayward people, Judah.  Having had to discipline them for their repeated sin of idolatry by sending them into exile in the land of Babylon for a period of 70 years, the Lord nevertheless reassures them that He has a plan in place to rescue, restore and comfort them as His sheep.   In spite of the troubles they have caused for themselves in this life, their – especially their eternal — future is bright for He is their Shepherd, and He assures it!  

            In our Children’s Lesson  we will talk about the great  love that our Good Shepherd has

for every one of us.  Like sheep, we sometimes wander off in the wrong direction and into spiritual danger, but Jesus never fails to come after us, and He always rejoices (so does heaven) when a lost sheep is safely back in His flock. 

            Today’s Gospel Lesson (and Sermon Text) comes from John 10, Scripture’s principal

reference to Jesus as the “Good Shepherd.”  In fact the whole of John chapter ten is called “the Good Shepherd chapter.”  In the first paragraph of our reading,  Jesus describes His relationship with the Church in terms of a shepherd who tends a flock.   As our Good Shepherd, He not only watches over us, but warns against following false shepherds (notably false teachers) who try to lead His followers astray, even with violence.    He came to give us spiritual life and preserve us into eternal life, a fact we celebrate with joy this Easter season.     In the second part of this reading (esp vv 11-16)  Jesus tells us why He is the Good Shepherd, and what His purpose and goal is for us.    He also reminds us that the proof that He, alone, is the Good Shepherd is found in His willingness to lay down His life for us – His sheep – and then in His power to conquer death itself.  Finally, in the closing section (vv 22-30) Jesus assures us that He knows us all by name, and that His flock will prove themselves to be His followers by faithfully listening to His Word (the Scriptures).   He further promises that He will protect and preserve us from those who would try to deprive us not only of our faith-relationship with Him, but of the eternal life in heaven which He promises to all who are a part of His flock of believers.

                        Finally, prior to our sermon we will read Psalm 23, called by many “the world’s most beloved Psalm.”   Our closing hymn, #360, “The Lord’s My Shepherd, I’ll Not Want,” is – of course – based on this favorite Psalm. Through all of our Scripture lessons, hymns, psalms, and prayers on this “Good Shepherd Sunday,” let’s thank our Heavenly Father for giving His Son to be our Good Shepherd, and let’s praise Jesus for being such a Good Shepherd to every one of us.




Pre-Service Prayer

Lord Jesus, though but two or three    In Your dear name assembled be,

You will among them show Your face    And bless them with Your saving grace.

In Your dear name again we meet     And worship humbly at Your feet;

You will Your gracious Word fulfill     And cheer us with Your presence still.

Jesus, from Whom all blessings flow,     Your peace and comfort now bestow;

Abide with us till life is o’er      And keep us Yours forevermore.     Amen.



 The portions of God’s Word  (other than Psalm 23 – KJV) that are used in this worship flyer have been taken from The Holy Bible, Evangelical Heritage Version    Copyright 2019,   The Wartburg Project, Inc.   All rights reserved.   Used with permission

Prayer upon entering the worship area

Pre-service Music                                                                                                                                              



We Praise Our God


The Introduction and Invitation To Worship


following which, the Congregation will rise for the invocation


The Invocation


Pastor              We begin this service in the name of the Father, and of the Son,

                                                                        and of the Holy Spirit.   Amen.



The Responsive Psalm for Today                                                                           Psalm 33, selected verses


P:         Shout for joy in the LORD, O you righteous:    Praise befits the upright.

C:         Sing to Him a new song;    play skillfully on the strings, with loud shouts!


P:         For the word of the Lord is upright;   and all His work is done in faithfulness.

C:         He loves righteousness and justice;   the earth is full of the steadfast love of the               LORD .


P:         Let all the earth fear the Lord;    let all the inhabitants of the world stand in awe of Him.

C:         Blessed is the nation whose God is the Lord,    the people whom He has chosen as His heritage!


P:         Our soul waits for the Lord;    He is our Help and our Shield.

C:         For our heart is glad in Him,   because we trust in His holy name.


P:         May Your steadfast love, O LORD, be upon us,

C:         even as we hope in You.


After which the Congregation will be seated for


The Opening Hymn                                                      “An Easter Season/Good Shepherd Sunday Medley”

                                                                                                     note…..each hymn selection uses a different tune

                                                              …..so there will be A BRIEF MUSICAL PAUSE after each verse grouping

            Hymn 162

He is arisen!   Glorious Word!   Now reconciled is God my Lord;

The gates of heav’n are open.    My Jesus did triumphant die,

And Satan’s arrows broken lie,   Destroyed hell’s direst weapon.

Oh, hear, what cheer!    Christ victorious   Rises glorious……Life He’s giving –

He was dead, but see:   He’s living!



            Hymn 453  v 1

Come, follow Me, the Savior spake,  All in My way abiding;

Deny yourselves, the world forsake,    Obey my call and guiding.

Oh, bear the cross, what e’er betide,    Take My example for your guide.



            Hymn 488

Savior, I long to walk   Closer with Thee;

Led by Thy guiding hand,   Ever to be

Constantly near Thy side,    Quickened and purified,

Living for Him Who died,   Freely for me.



My Shepherd will supply my need – Jehovah is His name.

In pastures fresh   He makes me feed    Beside the living stream.

He brings my wand’ring spirit back      When I forsake His ways

And leads me, for His mercy’s sake,    In paths of truth and grace.



            Hymn 432, v 2-3


Day by day, at home, away,   Jesus is my Staff and Stay.

When I hunger, Jesus feeds me,   Into pleasant pastures leads me;

When I thirst, He bids me go   Where the quiet waters go.


Who so happy as I am, Even now the Shepherd’s lamb?

And when my short life is ended,   By His angel hosts attended,

He shall fold me to His breast,   There within His arms to rest.



            Hymn 157, v 4

Sing we to our God above,   Alleluia!

Praise eternal, as His love:    Alleluia!

Praise Him, all You heav’nly host,   Alleluia!

Father, Son and Holy Ghost.   Alleluia!     Amen!



After which the Pastor will invite the Congregation to rise as


We Make Confession Of Our Sins To God


Pastor              Brothers and sisters in Christ:    the Word of God urges us to confess to our Lord all our sins of thought, word, and action.   This is something that ought to be daily part of our spiritual lives, and

should come forth from every heart that is humble and penitent.    But we should especially do this when we meet together in His house to thank God for all that He has done for us, to praise Him, and to hear His life-giving Word.    Therefore, come with me now, to our Heavenly Father’s throne of grace, and let us confess our sins together.


Congregation Miserable person that I am,   +   I confess and lament to You, O most holy God,  +   that I  am a weak and sinful creature,  +  guilty of every sin, of unbelief, and of blasphemy. +   I also confess that Your

 Word has not brought forth good fruit in me.   +   I hear it, but do not receive it earnestly.   +   I do not show works of love toward my neighbor.   +   I am full of anger, hate, and envy.   +   I am impatient, greedy, and bent on every evil.   +   Therefore my heart and conscience are heavy.   +   Lord, I ask You, free me from my sins,   +   strengthen my faith,   +   and comfort my weak conscience by Your divine Word,  +   that I may obtain Your promised grace.


Pastor  Having humbly and sincerely confessed your sins before Almighty God, now be strengthened in your faith, mindful that our Lord is not willing that anyone should perish eternally, but that everyone should come to

repentance, turning from their evil ways and receiving from Him everlasting life.    God has commanded His ministers to declare His forgiveness of sins to all who are penitent.   Therefore, rest assured that your sins have been fully covered by the blood and righteousness of Jesus Christ your Savior.  May the peace of God rest upon all of you.   In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.  Amen.      Now, in the peace of God’s forgiveness, let us together praise our gracious and glorious Lord!



The Congregation responds by singing:                                                               to the melody of “Old Hundredth”


All glory be to God on high!   Your name, O Lord, we glorify

We praise You for Your peace and grace,    Your favor toward our fallen race.


Our grateful thanks to You we bring,   For Your great glory, heav’nly King,

For all, O Father, You have done   Through Jesus Christ, Your only Son.


O Lamb of God, to You we pray,   In love You took our sins away,

We by Your Spirit sing again:   “All glory be to God!”    Amen.



Our Prayer for This Morning           


O Lord Jesus Christ,   +  You are the Good Shepherd   +   Who gave His life for the sheep.   +   Nourish us in the pastures of Your Word,   +   that we may remain sheep of Your flock in this life   +   and for all eternity.   +   For You live and reign   +   with the Father and the Holy Spirit   +   One God, forever and ever.   Amen.



We Give Our Attention To God’s Word


The Old Testament Lesson                                                                                                      Ezekiel 34:1-16


The word of the Lord came to me.   2 Son of man, prophesy against the shepherds of Israel. Prophesy and say to those shepherds that this is what the Lord God says:    Woe to you, shepherds of Israel, who have been shepherding for themselves. Aren’t shepherds supposed to shepherd for the benefit of the sheep? 3 You eat the fat. You wear the wool. You slaughter the fattened ones—but you do not shepherd the flock. 4 You have not strengthened the weak. You have not healed the sick. You have not bound up the injured. You have not brought back the strays, and you have not searched for the lost. Instead you have abused them with force and with violence. 5 So they scattered, because there was no shepherd, and they became food for all the wild animals. My sheep scattered and 6 wandered all over the mountains and on every high hill. Over the face of the whole earth, my flock was scattered, with no one looking for them and no one searching for them.


7 Therefore, shepherds, hear the word of the Lord. 8 As surely as I live, declares the Lord God, because my flock has become plunder, and because my flock has become food for all the wild animals, because they have no shepherd and my shepherds did not concern themselves about my flock, but the shepherds took care of themselves instead of taking care of my flock, 9 therefore, you shepherds, hear the word of the Lord.


10 This is what the Lord God says. I am against the shepherds. Watch! I will remove my flock from their hand. I will remove them from taking care of the sheep, and no longer will those shepherds take care of themselves. I will rescue my flock from their mouths, so that they will no longer be food for them.    11 For this is what the Lord God says. Here I am. I myself will seek the welfare of my flock and carefully search for them. 12 As a shepherd searches for his flock when his sheep that were with him have been scattered, so I will search for my flock and rescue them from all the places where they were scattered on a day of clouds and thick darkness. 13 I will bring them out from the peoples and gather them from the countries and bring them to their own soil. I will shepherd them on the mountains of Israel, in the valleys, and in all the settlements of the land. 14 I will lead them into good pasture, and their grazing land will be on the high mountains of Israel. There they will lie down in good grazing land, and they will pasture on rich pasture on the mountains of Israel. 15 I myself will shepherd my flock. I myself will let them lie down, declares the Lord God. 16 I will seek the lost. I will bring back the strays. I will bind up the injured. I will strengthen the weak. I will destroy the fat and the strong, and I will shepherd them with justice.


The Gospel Lesson                                                                                                                        John 10:1-30


“Amen, Amen, I tell you: Anyone who does not enter the sheep pen by the door, but climbs in by some other way, is a thief and a robber. 2 The one who enters by the door is the shepherd of the sheep. 3 The doorkeeper opens the door for him, and the sheep listen to his voice. He calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. 4 When he has brought out all his own sheep, he walks ahead of them. The sheep follow him because they know his voice. 5 They will never follow a stranger, but will run away from him, because they do not know the voice of strangers.” 6 Jesus used this illustration in speaking to the people, but they did not understand what he was telling them.


7 So Jesus said again, “Amen, Amen, I tell you: I am the Door for the sheep. 8 All who came before Me were thieves and robbers, but the sheep did not listen to them. 9 I am the Door. Whoever enters through Me will be saved. He will come in and go out, and find pasture.   10 “A 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 The hired man, who is not a shepherd, does not own the sheep. He sees the wolf coming, leaves the sheep, and runs away. Then the wolf attacks the sheep and scatters them. 13 Because he works for money, he does not care about the sheep.  14 “I am the Good Shepherd. I know My sheep and My sheep know Me 15 (just as the Father knows Me and I know the Father). And I lay down My life for the sheep. 16 I also have other sheep that are not of this sheep pen. I must bring them also, and they will listen to My voice. Then there will be one flock and one Shepherd. 17 This is why the Father loves Me, because I lay down My life so that I may take it up again. 18 No one takes it from Me, but I lay it down on My own. I have the authority to lay it down, and I have the authority to take it up again. This is the commission I received from My Father.”   19 There was a division among the Jews again because of these words. 20 Many of them were saying, “He has a demon and is out of His mind! Why listen to Him?” 21 Others said, “These are not the sayings of someone demon-possessed. Can a demon open the eyes of the blind?”


            22 Then the Festival of Dedication took place in Jerusalem. It was winter, 23 and Jesus was walking in the temple area in Solomon’s Colonnade.  24 So the Jews gathered around Jesus, asking, “How long will You keep us in suspense? If You are the Christ, tell us plainly.”    25 Jesus answered them, “I did tell you, but you do not believe. The works I am doing in My Father’s name testify about Me.   26 But you do not believe, because you are not My sheep, as I said to you.   27 My sheep hear My voice. I know them, and they follow Me. 28 I give them eternal life, and they will never perish. No one will snatch them out of My hand. 29 My Father, Who has given them to Me, is greater than all. No one can snatch them out of My Father’s hand. 30 I and the Father are One.”



The Apostles’ Creed


I believe in God the Father Almighty, Maker of heaven and earth.  +  And in Jesus Christ, His only Son, our Lord;   +   Who was conceived by the Holy Ghost;   +   Born of the Virgin Mary;   +   Suffered under Pontius Pilate;   +   Was crucified, dead and buried;   +   He descended into hell;   +   The third day He rose again from the dead;   +   He ascended into heaven   +   And sitteth on the right hand of God the Father Almighty;   +   From thence He shall come to judge the quick and the dead.   +   I believe in the Holy Ghost;   +   The Holy Christian Church, the communion of saints;  +   The forgiveness of sins;   +   The resurrection of the body;   +   And the life everlasting.  Amen.


After which the Congregation may be seated for


The Children’s Lesson                                                                                                                    Luke 15:3-6


 He told them this parable: 4 “Which one of you, if you had one hundred sheep and lost one of them, would not leave the ninety-nine in the wilderness and go after the one that was lost until he finds it? 5 And when he finds it, he joyfully puts it on his shoulders 6 and goes home. Then he calls together his friends and his neighbors, telling them, ‘Rejoice with me, because I have found my lost sheep!’ 7 I tell you, in the same way there will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous people who do not need to repent.


Heaven’s Happiness Over Every Found Lost Sheep



The Hymn of the Day                                                      Hymn 360  “The Lord’s My Shepherd I’ll Not Want


The Lord’s my Shepherd, I’ll not want;     He makes me down to lie

In pastures green; He leadeth me     The quiet waters by.


My soul He doth restore again,      And me to walk doth make

Within the paths of righteousness,     E’en for His own name’s sake.


Yea, though I walk in death’s dark vale,     Yet will I fear no ill;

For Thou art with me, and Thy rod      And staff me comfort still.


My table Thou hast furnished      In presence of my foes;

My head Thou dost with oil anoint,     And my cup overflows.


Goodness and mercy all my life      Shall surely follow me,

And in God’s house forevermore     My dwelling-place shall be.



The Salutation                                               Psalm 23


The Lord is my Shepherd, I shall not want.   He maketh me to lie down in green pastures.   He leadeth me beside 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 shall 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.


The Sermon Text                                                                                                                         John 10:10-11


10 “A 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.


What’s So Good About The Good Shepherd?


Afterward the Congregation will REMAIN SEATED for the post-sermon blessing


Pastor              May the God of peace, Who through the blood of the eternal covenant brought back from the dead our Lord Jesus, that Great Shepherd of the sheep, equip you with everything good for doing His will, and may He work in us what is pleasing to Him, through Jesus Christ, to Whom be glory for ever and ever.   Amen.



We Offer Our Gifts to the Lord


Our Offerings of Love to our Lord

Because we aren’t able to pass an offering plate today, as we would during a regular worship service, we offer you the following suggestions for providing God with Your thank-offerings through our ministry:

1) Those present for worship may leave their offerings in the baskets near the exit doors; or

2) You can send a check (no cash) in the mail to Grace Lutheran Church (415 N. 6th Place, Lowell, AR 72745)

2) Or, go online to our website (www.gracelutherannwa.com) and use the giving option there.

We Bring Our Prayers Before the Lord


The Prayer for This Morning


The Lord’s      Our Father, Who art in heaven, Hallowed be Thy name;   Thy kingdom

Prayer                         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 Celebration of the Sacrament


Our Self-Examination Before Receiving The Lord’s Supper


Pastor –            Let us now examine ourselves in preparation for receiving this Sacrament, as the inspired Apostle Paul so instructs us in I Corinthians 11, where he  writes,   “…whoever eats  the bread and drinks the cup

 of the Lord in an unworthy manner will be guilty of sinning against the body and blood of the Lord.  A man ought to examine himself before he eats of the bread and drinks of the cup.  For anyone who eats and drinks without recognizing the body of the Lord eats and drinks judgement upon himself.”


Pastor –            Accordingly, are you sincerely sorry for your sins and determined, with God’s help, to change your sinful ways?


Congregation  Yes, I am sorry for my sins and desire to serve Jesus and not a sinful lifestyle.


Pastor –            Do you believe that here in the Lord’s Supper you will receive, along with the bread and wine, the

                        true body and blood of your Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ?           


Congregation Yes, I believe that I will be receiving the true body and blood of my Lord and Savior, which was given into death for my sins.


Pastor –            Are you coming to the Lord’s table as one in the faith with this Christian congregation, as the

                         Scriptures teach?


Congregation  Yes I have studied the teachings of this congregation concerning God’s Word;  I agree with them;  And am one in faith with them, as the Scriptures command me to be before I come to the Lord’s table with anyone.


Pastor –            Finally, do you recognize your need for forgiveness and do you believe that you will receive through the Lord’s Supper the full and free forgiveness of all your sins?


Congregation  Yes, I have examined my life, see the need for God’s forgiveness and believe that I will receive complete forgiveness for all my sins, as my Savior has promised.


Pastor –            Having examined yourselves and confessed your sins, come now with confidence and joy to your Lord’s table and receive here, through His body and blood, the guarantee that your sins are all forgiven, and that eternal life and salvation are surely yours.



The Words of Institution                                                                                              (Spoken by the Pastor)





                                                                                   (Please read the following if you have not spoken with

                                                                                            our Pastor about taking communion.  Thank you.)


To our Guests this morning,  we appreciate your presence among us.  It is an honor to have you join with us as we worship our Lord and listen to His Word.   We truly consider it a privilege to spend this time with you!   It is our hope that you will both return in the future to worship with us again, and – perhaps – that You will even choose to become part of our congregation’s membership and our Synodical (WELS) fellowship, so that you might become even more involved in worship, study of God’s Word, and in Christian ministry and fellowship with us.

                        In connection with our worship as Christians, we regularly celebrate the Lord’s Supper, or Holy Communion.   But, as a key part of our church’s Biblically-based communion practice, before we can ask anyone to commune with us, we are compelled to first sit down with that individual and establish (upon a comprehensive study of the teachings of Scripture) that we are united in full doctrinal/ teaching fellowship…….which Scripture requires of any and all Christians before they can commune together.  

                        Accordingly, we can offer the Lord’s Supper this morning only to those individuals who have completed that course of study, and who have chosen to become confirmed, communicant members of Grace Lutheran congregation or from one of our Wisconsin Evangelical Lutheran Synod (WELS) or Evangelical Lutheran Synod (ELS) congregations.

                        For some guests, this Biblical practice of “Close Communion“ is both unfamiliar and (quite possibly)  uncomfortable.   We realize that, unfortunately, few churches today continue to follow this approach to communion…..though, in the past (when many churches were more concerned about following all of God’s Word than is the case today)  nearly all did.    We understand that it is not necessarily easy to watch others receiving the Lord’s Supper, while being asked – respectfully — to refrain from receiving it.    Many of us who are communing today once also watched others receive the Lord’s Supper, as you are asked to do this morning, while waiting for the privilege of  one day  being an active partner in this “Close Communion.”   We want to assure you that we are not judging your faith in Christ today.   Nor it is our desire to offend you.     But it also is not our desire to offend or disobey our Lord’s expectations for the proper use of His Supper.    Indeed, we must all obey Him above all others, and we want to obey Him.   Consequently, if you have any questions or concerns about our use/practice of the Lord’s Supper (and we invite you to ask or express them — if you do),  please feel free to speak with our Pastor after the service, or at your convenience.  He considers it a privilege to share with you and others the Biblical reasons for our approach to receiving and offering the Lord’s Supper.     In addition,  you can also find a brochure in our tract/brochure rack in the entryway;  it is entitled “Our Communion Practice.”   This brochure also provides our guests and friends with the  Scripture-based explanation for our understanding of and use of the Lord’s Supper.                

                        Finally, please know that we truly are grateful for your participation – as a fellow Christian – in this morning’s worship service.   We also thank you for your patience and understanding, and for respecting this Biblical approach we must take as we endeavor to faithful make us of our Lord’s Supper.  We hope and pray that you will come back to worship with us again — often.   And that one day you might become a part of this Christian fellowship, not only as we worship and hear God’s Word from these pews, but as we receive the Lord’s Supper together.   May God bless and keep you always!




The Distribution of the Communion Elements


The First  Distribution Hymns                                                                                  Hymn 309 “Draw Near and Take The Body of the Lord”



1 Draw near and take the body of the Lord,

And drink the holy blood for you outpoured;

Offered was He for greatest and for least,

Himself the victim and Himself the priest.

2 He who His saints in this world rules and shields,

To all believers life eternal yields;

With heav’nly bread He makes the hungry whole,

Gives living waters to the thirsting soul.


3 Come forward then with faithful hearts sincere,

And take the pledges of salvation here.

O Lord, our hearts with grateful thanks endow

As in this feast of love You bless us now.




The Second Distribution Hymn                             Hymn 315    “Here, O My Lord, I See You Face To Face”



1 Here, O my Lord, I see You face to face;

Here would I touch and handle things unseen;

Here grasp with firmer hand the eternal grace,

And all my weariness upon You lean.


2 This is the hour of banquet and of song;

Here is the heav’nly table spread anew;

Here let me feast and, feasting, still prolong

The brief bright hour of fellowship with You.


3 I have no help but Yours; nor do I need

Another arm but Yours to lean upon.

It is enough, my Lord, enough indeed;

My strength is in Your might, Your might alone.



4 Mine is the sin, but Yours the righteousness;

Mine is the guilt, but Yours the cleansing blood;

Here is my robe, my refuge, and my peace;

Your blood, Your righteousness, O Lord my God.


5 Too soon we rise; the vessels disappear;

The feast, though not the love, is past and gone;

The bread and wine remove, but You are here;

Nearer than ever; still my Shield and Sun.


7 Feast after feast thus comes and passes by,

Yet, passing, points to that glad feast above,

Giving sweet foretaste of the festal joy,

The Lamb’s great marriage feast of bliss and love.



After the distribution of the Lord’s Supper is complete, the Congregation will be invited to rise



We Conclude our Worship


P:         Hear the prayer of Your people, O Lord, that the lips which have praised You here may glorify You in  the world, that the eyes which have seen the coming of Your Son may long for His coming again, and that all who have received in His true body and blood the pledge of Your forgiveness, may be restored to live a new and holy life through Jesus Christ our Lord, Who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, One God, now and forever.    Amen.



The Benediction


            Pastor –            The LORD bless you and keep you.

The LORD make His face shine upon You and be gracious unto you,

                                                The LORD look upon you with favor,  and grant you His peace.   Amen.


The Closing Hymn                                                                                Hymn 360  “I Am Jesus’ Little Lamb”


I am Jesus’ little lamb,   Ever glad at heart I am;

For my Shepherd gently guides me,   Knows my need and well provides me,

Loves me ev’ry day the same,   Even calls me by my name.


Day by day, at home, away,    Jesus is my staff and stay.

When I hunger, Jesus feeds me,   Into pleasant pastures leads me;

When I thirst, He bids me go   Where the quiet waters flow.


Who so happy as I am,    Even now the Shepherd’s lamb?

And when my short life is ended,   By His angel host attended,

He shall fold me to His breast,   There within His arms to rest.


silent prayer


post-service music                                                                                                                                             




Last Week at Grace Lutheran:                                                                                                                        Sunday Worship Attendance: 64

Sunday Bible Class Attendance: 17           Sunday School: 3                                        Tuesday Bible Class: 15

Wednesday Evening Bible study:   4 women;    4 men.

Budgetary:   $3236              School Fund: $51               Capital Improvement: $61


This Coming Week at Grace Lutheran Church


Today                                      Morning Worship,  9:30 a.m., including a celebration of the Lord’s Supper

                                                Fellowship Period, 10:45 a.m            Bible Class / Sunday School – 11:05 a.m.

                                                Youth Confirmation Class, noon to 1:15 p.m.

                                                                                                                                    Tuesday                      Morning Bible Study, 10:30 a.m.                                            

                                    Wednesday                 Women’s & Men’s Evening Bible Studies, 6 p.m. 

                                    Saturday                     Outreach Calling/Visitation, leave from church at 10:00 a.m.

                                    Sunday                         Morning Worship, 9:30 a.m.                   Fellowship Period, 10:40 a.m.

                                                Bible Class/Sunday School, 11:00 a.m.          Confirmation Class, noon to 1:15


Ascension Day Special Worship Service Reminder  –  on Thursday, May 13th we will conduct an Ascension Day service, beginning at 7:00 p.m.    Please plan to join us for this often-overlooked, but spiritually significant celebration on our church’s calendar.


Wednesday Evening Bible Classes Have Resumed  …….We are holding women’s and men’s Bible classes on Wednesday evenings from 6 to 7 p.m.   Our men are studying various Psalms, while our women are studying Philippians.  If you’re unable to attend in person, you can still participate over the phone by calling 1-701-802-5405, then dialing 7519304#.  Join us for this time in God’s Word!


Serving Us NEXT SUNDAY, April 25th                                               Elders: John Johnson, Tim Pfortmiller

Ushers –   Fred Cusanelli;   Pat Quinlan             Altar Guild – Karen Swogger,   Mary Karloski


This Week’s Birthday                      April 21 – Sarah Higgins;            April 23 – Jamaica Hoyord


Bible Classes Today and Tuesday – Our Sunday Bible class is studying First John.   Today in chapter 5, with its range of topics, we’ll look at praying according to God’s will, and also the damnable danger that can come from being unrepentant.  Tuesday morning from 10:30-11:30 we’ll study I Kings 11-12.  We’ll discuss Solomon’s personal and Spiritual failures, as well as Civil War and division of the nation that followed Solomon’s death.  If you can’t attend in person, you can participate over the phone by calling 1-701-802-5405, then dial 7519304#. 


Daily Devotions for Your Smart Phone, Computer or Tablet – Through a web site identified as “What About Jesus” (www.whataboutJesus.com), operated by our Synod, we can sign up for short,  morning devotions sent straight to your smart phone each day via an email address.    Each devotion is Biblically accurate, and takes about a minute to read.  They arrive around 4 a.m, so you can start your day with it.   Just go to the web address, and click the word “worship” on the far right.   Then click “Devotions,” and, after providing some information to identify you, you’ll be sent an email with directions to complete the sign up process.   It takes a few minutes….and you will be blessed by these devotions on a daily basis.


Whom can you bring to worship next Sunday?   Yourself  (and your spouse and children) of course.   But how about inviting and bringing your adult children?   Grandchildren?   Your parents?  An unchurched neighbor?   Someone with whom you work?    How about a stranger that you’ve yet to meet…but whom you will meet between now and Sunday?  Maybe even a member of Grace who hasn’t been in church with us for a very long time…..?    Many people we know haven’t been in church to worship our Lord in a very long time, and not just because of Covid.   Being absent from attending church can cause people not only to “lose interest” in church….but worse, to lose interest in Christ.    God has placed us in the lives of others because He wants us to be examples of faith in Christ to them.   He’s also called us to verbally witness to them about how essential faith in the crucified and risen Christ is for us…and for them.  We’re all called to be Christ’s “ambassadors” in order to present the Gospel to people so the Holy Spirit can either start or strengthen saving faith in their hearts.    So, please be a witness for Jesus and invite (and bring) someone to worship with us next Sunday.