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My Care Runs Over - Psalm 23, Matthew 9 (Palm/Passion Sunday)

A service plan for Lent celebrating God's care for us flows over us like the abundance of anointing oil runs over the head and down on the shoulders of the one being anointed. Part of a Lenten series focused on "Walking with God through Psalm 23."

Worship Service

Theme of the Service

The brief statement that comprises the last half of Psalm 23:5 shapes the theme of this entire service of worship. God's care for us is so generous that it runs over us like the abundance of anointing oil runs over the head and down on the shoulders of the one being anointed. The New Testament reference to the compassion that saturated the ministry of Jesus serves to reinforce this theme of God's care.


Prelude: "I Want Jesus to Walk with Me," Henry [organ], Edison [piano], or Sherman [handbells]
"Shepherd Me, O God," Callahan [organ]
"The Lord's My Shepherd," Darke [organ] or Shackley [piano]

The Call to Worship

*Opening Litany
The Lord is my shepherd,
I shall not be in want.
He makes me to lie down in green pastures,
he leads me beside quiet waters,
he restores my soul.

He guides me in path of righteousness for his name's sake.
Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death,
I will fear no evil,
for you are with me,

Your rod and your staff, they comfort me.
You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies.
You anoint my head with oil;
my cup overflows.
Surely goodness and love will follow me all the days of my life,
and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.
(Psalm 23)

*Song: "The Lord's My Shepherd" PsH 161, TH 86

*Our Declaration of Trust and God's Greeting:
Congregation of Jesus Christ, in whom are you trusting?
Our help is in the name of the Lord who made heaven and earth.
Grace, mercy, and peace to you in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.

*Our Sung Response: "Psalm 31" (refrain only) SNC 131


The Call to Confession

Sung Prayer of Confession: "Ah, Holy Jesus, How Have You Offended" (st. 2) PH 93, PsH 386, RL 285, RN 183, TH 248, TWC 231

Who was the guilty? Who brought this upon you?
It is my treason, Lord, that has undone you.
'Twas I, Lord Jesus, I it was denied you;
I crucified you.

Assurance of Pardon

Who has believed what we have heard? And to whom has the arm of the Lord
been revealed? He grew up before him like a young plant, and like a root out of
dry ground; he had no form or majesty that we should look at him, nothing in his
appearance that we should desire him.

He was despised and rejected by others; a man of suffering and acquainted with infirmity;
and as one from whom others hide their faces he was despised, and we held him of no
account. Surely he took up our infirmities and carried our diseases, yet we considered him
stricken, struck down by God, and afflicted.
But he was wounded for our transgressions, crushed for our iniquities; upon
him was the punishment that made us whole, and by his bruises we are healed.

All we like sheep have gone astray, we have all turned to our own way; and the Lord has
laid on him the iniquity of us all. (Isaiah 53:1-6, NRSV)

Sung Response: "When I Survey the Wondrous Cross" (st. 2-3) PH 101, PsH 384, RL 293, RN 236, SFL 166, TH 252, TWC 213

Forbid it, Lord, that I should boast
save in the death of Christ, my God!
All the vain things that charm me most,
I sacrifice them through his blood.
See, from his head, his hands, his feet,
sorrow and love flow mingled down.
Did e'er such love and sorrow meet,
or thorns compose so rich a crown?

*The Gospel Reading: Matthew 9:1-8
The Word of the Lord.
Thanks be to God!

*Passing the Peace
Pastor: The peace of Christ be with you.
All: And also with you.
(The worshipers are encouraged to greet each other saying, "The peace of Christ
be with you.")

*Sung Response: "When I Survey the Wondrous Cross" (st. 4)

Were the whole realm of nature mine,
that were a present far too small.
Love so amazing, so divine,
demands my soul, my life, my all.


The Pastoral Prayer

The Offertory
The gift of generosity
The gift of music: "The Lord's My Shepherd," Sanborn [piano]

The Offertory Prayer


The Children's Moment

Anthem: "You Are Mine," Haas

The Prayer for Illumination

The Scripture Reading: Matthew 9:35-38
The Word of the Lord.
Thanks be to God!

The Sermon: My Care Runs Over (Walking with Jesus through Psalm 23 - #6)
Text: Psalm 23:5b

View sermon notes for this sermon

Sung Prayer: "Healer of Our Every Ill" SNC 205


A Prayer for Prepared Hearts

A Preparatory Responsorial

Refrain: "Now Behold the Lamb" (st. 1) SNC 144
He was oppressed, and he was afflicted, yet he did not open his mouth;
like a lamb that is led to the slaughter, and like a sheep that before its
shearers is silent,

so he did not open his mouth.
By a perversion of justice he was taken away.
Who could have imagined his future?
For he was cut off from the land of the living,
stricken for the transgression of my people.

They made a grave with the wicked
and his tomb with the rich,
although he had done no violence,
and there was no deceit in his mouth
. (from Isaiah 53, NRSV)

Refrain: "Now Behold the Lamb" (st. 2)

Is it nothing to you, all you who pass by?
Look and see if there is any sorrow like my sorrow,
which was brought upon me,
which the Lord inflicted
on the day of his fierce anger. (from Lamentations 1, NRSV)
Worthy is the Lamb that was slaughtered
to receive power and wealth and wisdom and might
and honor and glory and blessing!
(from Revelation 5, NRSV)

Refrain: "Now Behold the Lamb" (st. 3)

*The Benediction

*Song: "There Is a Redeemer" RN 232, SNC 145

Postlude "Healer of Our Every Ill," Honoré [organ]

* you are invited to stand

Sermon Notes:

View sermon notes for this sermon

Glossary of Hymnal Abbreviations:
PH The Presbyterian Hymnal (Presbyterian Church USA; Westminster/John Knox Press)
PsH The Psalter Hymnal (Christian Reformed Church; Faith Alive Christian Resources)
RL Rejoice in the Lord (Reformed Church in America; W.B. Eerdmans Publishing Company)
RN Renew! (Hope Publishing Company)
SFL Songs for LiFE (children's songbook; Faith Alive Christian Resources)
SNC Sing! A New Creation (Calvin Institute of Christian Worship, Christian Reformed Church, Reformed Church in America; Faith Alive Christian Resources)
TH Trinity Hymnal (Orthodox Presbyterian Church, Presbyterian Church in America; Great Commission Publications)
TWC The Worshiping Church (Hope Publishing Company)
WOV With One Voice (Augsburg Fortress)

Music Level Key: E = Easy, M = Medium, D = Difficult

  1. The prelude suggestions provide a variety of style while maintaining a consistency of thought in regard to text (where hymn-based) and emotion. Congregations vary as to what they need for length of prelude. Some congregations use a short prelude; others, one that approaches ten minutes in length. Draw from the resources available in your congregation and from your congregation's tradition as you craft your service music. We try to provide a variety to accommodate a broad range of churches.
  2. The prelude suggestions can be found in the following sources:
    - "I Want Jesus to Walk with Me," based on the tune sojourner, can be found in
    - an arrangement by Raymond Henry in Augsburg Organ Library - Lent, published by Augsburg 11-11036 [2000] (E-M)
    - a piano arrangement by June Edison in Great Day! published by Houston B41 [1991] (M)
    - a handbell anthem for 3-5 octaves handbells titled The Journey by Arnold Sherman, published by Agape 1897 [1997] (Level 4)
    - "Shepherd Me, O God," arranged for organ by Charles Callahan in This Is the Feast, published by Concordia 97-6575 [1996] (E-M)
    - "The Lord's My Shepherd," arrangements on the hymn tune brother james' air, found in:
    - A Meditation on "Brother James' Air" by Harold Darke for organ, published by Oxford [1948] (M)
    - Celtic Hymn Settings for Piano by Larry Shackley, published by Hope 8117 [2001] (E-M)
  3. The offertory music can be found in Jan Sanborn's Piano Music for the Care of the Soul published by Ron Harris RHP0403 [1997] (M).
  4. The anthem "You are Mine" by David Haas is published by GIA G-3656 [1991] (E).
  5. The refrain "Now Behold the Lamb" can be sung congregationally or chorally with a mixed group or SSA.
  6. The postlude suggestion on "Healer of Our Every Ill" by Jeffrey Honoré can be found in the Augsburg Organ Library - Lent, published by Augsburg 11-11036 [2000] (E-M).

Liturgy Notes:

  1. The consistent theme of this service is drawn from the Scripture passage in Psalm 23 and the series of sermons in which it is found. It does not, therefore, observe the events of Palm Sunday. If you desire to focus on the events of Jesus' triumphal entry into Jerusalem, we would direct you to the service of last year for the Sunday of April 13, 2003, which can be found in the Worship Planning Resources for Holy Week.
  2. The Opening Litany sets Psalm 23 before all worshipers and even invites them to take it on their lips in a responsive reading. This will aid the remembrance of the theme of the service and will also communicate the warmth of the compassionate care that is at the center of this service.
  3. We suggest that the Children's Moment for this service focus on an explanation for the children of Holy Week-what we are remembering, how important it is to remember the suffering and death of Christ-and let their anticipation for Easter build.
  4. The section of the service after the sermon should be introduced very deliberately. Explain that we are now in Holy Week and before the week is finished we'll be standing at the cross of Christ. That makes the journey of this week a holy one, one that can all too easily be crowded out if our hearts are not prepared. The prayer, sung refrain, and Old Testament readings should be introduced with that intent. Just as we often have a preparatory service to look forward to the Lord's Supper, so we include this section with an eye to our journey to the cross this week.