May 3, 2020


Bradenton-Sarasota Community of Christ
Online Service – May 3, 2020
The Lord is My Shepherd

Prepare to worship

Prayer for peace

How can there be peace in our world if we cannot feel peace in our hearts? How can we feel peace in our hearts when our brothers and sisters are suffering from hunger, from discrimination, from injustice? Acts 2:44-47 reminds us that the work of discipleship includes care of the ‘other’:

“They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer. Everyone was filled with awe, and many wonders and miraculous signs were done by the apostles. All the believers were together and had everything in common. Selling their possessions and goods, they gave to anyone as he had need. Every day they continued to meet together in the temple courts. They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts; praising God and enjoying the favor of all the people. And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved.”

When we have “the good will of all the people”, peace becomes a reality one person and one community at a time.

Scripture Reading

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.

The Communion Message – Priest Carolyn Deering

Whenever I hear the words of this Psalm, it has a profound effect on me. These were the last words my Mother spoke. She recited the Psalm with my brother before they took her in to have open heart surgery in November of 2013.

I have always had a feeling of guilt about that surgery because I was the one who realized that Mom was not doing well and was having difficulty with her breathing and her energy when I was in Ohio visiting her. It was my idea for my sister to make an appointment with her doctor to check it out.

Upon examination it was determined that she was suffering from Congestive Heart Failure and that surgery was an option for treatment. I encouraged her to go ahead with the surgery because she would feel so much better and it would allow her to have a better quality of life.    Although she was tentative and unsure, after prayer and much consideration, she decided to schedule the surgery. The plan was that my brother and sister and my daughter Jaime would be there with her and I would go up and take care of her through her rehabilitation after.

The morning of her surgery, I called her apartment to talk with her one last time but they had already left for the hospital. I couldn’t connect with them before they whisked her off for preparation and I headed in to work. My brother called a short time later to let me know that there was a delay and they would let me know when I could call and speak with her. I called back as soon as I finished treating my patient but it was too late.  They took her sooner than expected and my opportunity was again lost.

My brother’s testimony to me was that Mom was not afraid. She pulled off her oxygen mask and spoke the 23rd Psalm out loud, and they took her to the operating room. Her heart was repaired and significant blood flow restored. The surgery was successful but in the Recovery Room, the restored blood flow was so strong after being stunted, that it was too much for her heart to withstand and she left this Earth and returned to her Heavenly Father.

Everyone was there with her but me. I was devastated and lost in the thought that maybe she shouldn’t have agreed to this operation and that she must have been so scared. But then my brother’s testimony came back to me; she was a woman with such great faith! She recited the 23rd Psalm! She knew that God was with her and that the Lord was indeed her Shepherd; her protector, her comforter! Mom believed in that promise and lived her life by it. It was time for her to receive her reward and go to that beautiful and peaceful place that was prepared just for her! What a blessing we are given in the sacred words of that Psalm.

He prepares a place for each one of us, just as He prepares a table of forgiveness at Communion. His promises are sure, His peace He gives, His love and presence are unending!  Let us rest in the knowledge that we are never alone, our Shepherd will supply our every need.  He offers His blessing again at the table today.

Invitation to Communion

The Central Mission Center based in Independence, Missouri, will stream a live communion service at this link on Sunday, May 3, at 11:45 Eastern time. You are invited to join the our worldwide Community of Christ in this sacrament.

Disciples’ Generous Response

Doctrine & Covenants 162:7c reads “You have been given the principles of generosity, rightly interpreted for a new time.  These principles call every disciple to tithe faithfully in accordance with means and capacity.  Those values, deeply rooted in the Restoration faith, affirm that stewardship and discipleship cannot be divided and are dependent upon each other.”

Click here to use eTithing, send your offering to Dick Kramer, or put your offering aside and bring it with you when we meet again. Remember that the needs of the church and its work worldwide continue even when we cannot meet.

Closing Meditation

This service was prepared by Charyn Walker and Carolyn Deering.