3rd Sunday of Easter: “Sheep Feeding” John 21: 9-17 with Holy Communion

Photo: “Artwork at San Damiano Retreat Center, Danville, CA. Rev. Kathryn M Schreiber ©2015. Worship format and original content: Rev. Kathryn M. Schreiber ©2022.

We Gather

“Jesus focused on [the] special needs of the future shepherds of the church during those forty days after his resurrection. He deepened his tender bond with them. He ministered to their fear, guilt, doubts, fatigue, and hurts. He encountered their wounds in his risen spiritual body that carried his wounds as well as his light. He ‘fed’ the shepherds, not as mere instruments but as beloved friends.” – Rev Flora Slosson Wuellner, Feed My Shepherds

Prelude (Vicky)

Welcome and Acknowledgements (pastor) Welcome to our 3rd Sunday of Easter worship service! Everyone is welcome here! Through Jesus Christ, we are called together as the Beloved Community. Welcome guests. We honor this holy ground, unceded territory of the Lisjan-Ohlone people, committed to healing relations among all peoples.

Altar Flowers

Call to Worship (liturgist) Beloved Ones, little lambs and sheep, let us gather in the Eternal Presence of the Living Christ. The Resurrected One who fed and inspired the fishing disciples after the First Easter continues to nourish us and tend our ministries. Amen.

Light The Christ Candle (liturgist or pastor)

Welcoming Those Not Physically Present (pastor will speak, then light votives)

Votive Lighting Music (Vicky)

Children’s Message “Tended” Jesus feeds his disciples. (pastor; children stay with family)

Passing the Peace (everyone shares gestures and words of peace)

We Rest in God’s Grace

Prayer and Silence (pastor)

Let us shift into silence in God’s presence with this simple prayer based on Psalm 46:10.

Be still and know that I am God. (Breathe slowly)

Be still and know that I am. (Breathe slowly)

Be still and know. (Breathe slowly)

Be still. (Breathe slowly)

Be. (Breathe slowly)

(Breathe in silence)


Assurance of Grace (pastor)

After a long workday, no matter what our labor has been, sometimes a part of us becomes a little child wanting to be fed by a loving parent. We seek comfort and reward. This need is much more than physical; it is also spiritual. We need soul tending.

The Resurrected Jesus fed his disciples. Jesus actually cooked them a meal when they came home from fishing. The Eternal Christ desires to feed us, too.

Is your soul hungry? What feels unmet, dissatisfied, edgy? Pause into that untidy, needy energy. This is our deepest self needing soul care. The Living Christ desires to soothe and comfort. Offer this dissonance to Christ. This need is a grace – a key to open a door to a deeper connection with God. Amen.

Special Music (Vicky)

We Listen

Scripture: John 21:9-17 (liturgist; version: NRSV)

When the [fishing disciples] had gone ashore, they saw a charcoal fire there, with fish on it, and bread. Jesus said to them, “Bring some of the fish that you have just caught.” So Simon Peter went aboard and hauled the net ashore, full of large fish, a hundred and fifty-three of them; and though there were so many, the net was not torn. 

Jesus said to them, “Come and have breakfast.” Now none of the disciples dared to ask him, “Who are you?” because they knew it was the Lord. Jesus came and took the bread and gave it to them, and did the same with the fish. This was now the third time that Jesus appeared to the disciples after he was raised from the dead.

When they had finished breakfast, Jesus said to Simon Peter, “Simon son of John, do you love me more than these?” Simon Peter said to Jesus, “Yes, Lord; you know that I love you.” Jesus said to him, “Feed my lambs.”

A second time Jesus said to him, “Simon son of John, do you love me?” Simon Peter said to Jesus, “Yes, Lord; you know that I love you.” Jesus said to him, “Tend my sheep.” 

Jesus said to him the third time, “Simon son of John, do you love me?” Peter felt hurt because Jesus said to him the third time, “Do you love me?” And Simon Peter said to him, “Lord, you know everything; you know that I love you.” Jesus said to him, “Feed my sheep.”

May God add a blessing to the reading and reflecting upon God’s Holy Word. Amen.

Sermon: “Hungry?” (pastor) As we continue celebrating Christ’s Resurrection, we enter the story of Jesus’ post-Easter feeding of the fishing disciples and calling leader Simon Peter to show his love of Jesus by feeding his “sheep.”

Special Music (Vicky)

We Pray

Pastoral Prayer (pastor) On Easter morning we loved the drama of the Empty Tomb, O Christ, but this morning we need comforting. We need feeding and tending. We need Your gentle reassurance that we are going to make it despite whatever has happened. We need You!

Beloved Resurrected Christ, on this morning we come to You awaiting Your attention, care, and call to action. We come to You knowing You will give us exactly what we need. Thank You. Thank You. Amen.

Prayers of the People, Private Prayer, The God’s Prayer (pastor)

Offering of Praise “Doxology” (Vicky; all) Before worship, please leave donations in the basket in the entryway or mail to the church.

Announcements (pastor)

  • Singing inside – masks on, softly
  • After hymn, outside for Holy Communion

Communion Song: “I Come with Joy” Chalice Hymnal #420, all five verses (piano, Vicky; may need to teach this upbeat hymn; congregation sings softly)

We Relocate Outside

Please transition outside. Individually wrapped Holy Communion elements distributed.

We Celebrate Holy Communion

Welcome to Outside Holy Communion (pastor)

Gathering All Souls (pastor) Whenever we gather for Holy Communion, we do so as a mystical communion of souls – those physically present and those in spirit. Let us speak the names of those with whom we share this blessed meal… (say names out loud)

Words of Invitation (pastor) This Sunday, we imagine ourselves on the beach with Jesus. We are at the Sea of Galilee where the disciples, fishermen, are working. They are not aware they are about to encounter the Risen Christ. May we, also, be so wonderfully surprised in the sharing of this meal.

Prayer of Consecration (pastor; spontaneous) Each person holds individual elements.

Sharing the Elements

While the disciples were still out on their boats fishing Jesus made a fire and began to prepare a meal for them. Jesus baked fresh bread and fresh fish. As the disciples came ashore, nets filled with fish, Jesus said to them, “Come and have breakfast!” Now when Jesus said this, they weren’t quite sure who it was who was speaking to them. But then…

Jesus took the bread, (lift up bread); thanked God for it, (praise God); Jesus broke it, (break the bread); and gave it to the disciples saying: “Take, eat. This is my body, which has been given for you. Remember this?”

In the same way, after they had finished their breakfast, Jesus took the cup, (fill and lift); thanked God for it, (praise God); and gave it to them saying: “Drink this, all of you. This is my blood of the new covenant, which has been poured out for you and for many, for the forgiveness of sins. Remember this?”

On this 3rd Sunday of Easter we heed Jesus’ call to feed others. We share this loaf with…

  • Those who are hungry
  • Those who are scared
  • Those who are looking for God
  • Those who WILL come to BCCC

The Eternal Christ still calls to all disciples of Jesus saying, “Come and eat!” Let us receive the meal the Lord has prepared for us! (all eat and drink)

Prayer of Thanksgiving (pastor) Do we love You, Resurrected Jesus? Yes, we do! Do we remember You, Resurrected Jesus? Yes, we do! Thank You for tending us and for the call to tend each other. We are filled and grateful. Amen.

Benediction (pastor) Jesus is still speaking: “Do you love me?” The best reply is to tend each other. Let us go forth joyfully renewed, nourished to serve, blessed by the Peace of Christ. Amen.

The service is concluded.

Worship Resources:

(kms) All content prepared and written by Rev. Kathryn M Schreiber, unless attributed to another source.

(fsw) Flora Slosson Wuellner, Feed My Shepherds ©1998.

Residency Acknowledgement: This content was written in Huichin Village, unceeded territory of the Lisjan- Ohlone people, where I dwell and serve as a local church pastor. Please support indigenous rematriation efforts, the #LandBack movement, and give to Sogorea Te’ Land Trust Soghttps://sogoreate-landtrust.org/ and other non-profits that reform, balance, and heal relationships with our indigenous hosts. Thank you!

Copyright Note: Copyright laws changed in December 2020 when Congress passed the Copyright Alternative in Small-Claims Enforcement Act of 2020 (CASE Act). Please check with your legal counsel as to the appropriate use of licensed materials, especially print and recorded music when sharing content online. Please observe ethical use of resources and follow the publishing requirements of any broadcasting or publishing platforms you use. Protect the rights of content creators. Thank you!

Online Publishing Date: April 25, 2022; completed April 29, 2022.

Permission: Permission is not granted to share or distribute this resource beyond your community without additional permission from the author. Please attribute source and observe ethical use of all resources. Follow your platforms’ publishing requirements for all created content especially if publishing online or broadcasting. Thank you!

Donation: Due to the current coronavirus pandemic this content is offered free. If you’d like to support the congregation I serve as pastor – Berkeley Chinese Community Church – we’d be most grateful for your support. Please send checks to: BCCC UCC, 2117 Acton Street, Berkeley, CA 94702, Attn: Diane Huie, Treasurer. Thank you!

For Online Content: Please see Facebook pages: “Berkeley Chinese Community Church” and “Living Liturgies”; as well as my website: www.inthebiglove.com and YouTube channel: “Kathryn Schreiber”

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