Worship in the Home: Sunday, May 17, 2020

Posted on May 12, 2020 by ELCA Worship

Worship in the Home

Sixth Sunday of Easter
May 17, 2020

In this time of world-wide crisis, congregations throughout this church are not able to gather for worship as the body of Christ. While you cannot be together in person, we can hear the word of God and hold each other in prayer. We offer this brief resource as an aid for prayer in the home. As with our prayers in the gathered assembly for worship, you are encouraged to prepare or adapt them locally for your context.


The Prayer of the Day may be prayed. 

Let us pray.
Almighty and ever-living God, you hold together all things in heaven and on earth. In your great mercy receive the prayers of all your children, and give to all the world the Spirit of your truth and peace, through Jesus Christ, our Savior and Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever.

Then the readings for this Sunday may be read, as follows:

First Reading:  Acts 17:22-31

22Paul stood in front of the Areopagus and said, “Athenians, I see how extremely religious you are in every way. 23For as I went through the city and looked carefully at the objects of your worship, I found among them an altar with the inscription, ‘To an unknown god.’ What therefore you worship as unknown, this I proclaim to you. 24The God who made the world and everything in it, the one who is Lord of heaven and earth, does not live in shrines made by human hands, 25nor is God served by human hands, as though needing anything, since that very God gives to all mortals life and breath and all things. 26From one ancestor God made all nations to inhabit the whole earth, and he allotted the times of their existence and the boundaries of the places where they would live, 27so that they would search for God and perhaps grope for and find God—though indeed God is not far from each one of us. 28For ‘In God we live and move and have our being’; as even some of your own poets have said,
‘For we too are the offspring of God.’
29“Since we are God’s offspring, we ought not to think that the deity is like gold, or silver, or stone, an image formed by the art and imagination of mortals. 30While God has overlooked the times of human ignorance, now God commands all people everywhere to repent, 31because God has fixed a day on which to judge the world in righteousness by a man whom God has appointed, and of this God has given assurance to all by raising him from the dead.”

Word of God, word of life.
Thanks be to God.


Psalm:  Psalm 66:8-20 may be sung or spoken in response to the First Reading.

8Bless our | God, you peoples;
let the sound of | praise be heard.
9Our God has kept us a- | mong the living
and has not allowed our | feet to slip.
10For you, O God, have | tested us;
you have tried us just as sil- | ver is tried.
11You brought us in- | to the net;
you laid heavy burdens up- | on our backs.
12You let people ride over our heads; we went through | fire and water,
but you brought us out into a place | of refreshment.
13I will enter your house | with burnt offerings
and will pay | you my vows—
14those that I promised | with my lips
and spoke with my mouth when I | was in trouble.
15I will offer you burnt offerings of fatlings with the | smoke of rams;
I will give you ox- | en and goats.
16Come and listen, all you | who believe,
and I will tell you what God has | done for me.
17I called out to God | with my mouth,
and praised the Lord | with my tongue.
18If I had cherished evil | in my heart,
the Lord would | not have heard me;
19but in truth | God has heard me
and has attended to the sound | of my prayer.
20Blessed be God, who has not reject- | ed my prayer,
nor withheld unfailing | love from me. 


Second Reading: 1 Peter 3:13-22

13Who will harm you if you are eager to do what is good? 14But even if you do suffer for doing what is right, you are blessed. Do not fear what they fear, and do not be intimidated, 15but in your hearts sanctify Christ as Lord. Always be ready to make your defense to anyone who demands from you an accounting for the hope that is in you; 16yet do it with gentleness and reverence. Keep your conscience clear, so that, when you are maligned, those who abuse you for your good conduct in Christ may be put to shame. 17For it is better to suffer for doing good, if suffering should be God’s will, than to suffer for doing evil. 18For Christ also suffered for sins once for all, the righteous for the unrighteous, in order to bring you to God. Christ was put to death in the flesh, but made alive in the spirit, 19in which also he went and made a proclamation to the spirits in prison, 20who in former times did not obey, when God waited patiently in the days of Noah, during the building of the ark, in which a few, that is, eight persons, were saved through water. 21And baptism, which this prefigured, now saves you—not as a removal of dirt from the body, but as an appeal to God for a good conscience, through the resurrection of Jesus Christ, 22who has gone into heaven and is at the right hand of God, with angels, authorities, and powers made subject to him.

Word of God, word of life.
Thanks be to God.


Gospel: John 14:15-21

The holy gospel according to John.
Glory to you, O Lord.

[Jesus said:] 15“If you love me, you will keep my commandments. 16And I will ask the Father, who will give you another Advocate, to be with you forever. 17This is the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, whom the world neither sees nor knows. You know the Spirit, because the Spirit abides with you, and will be in you.

 18“I will not leave you orphaned; I am coming to you. 19In a little while the world will no longer see me, but you will see me; because I live, you also will live. 20On that day you will know that I am in my Father, and you in me, and I in you. 21They who have my commandments and keep them are those who love me; and those who love me will be loved by my Father, and I will love them and reveal myself to them.”

The gospel of the Lord.
Praise to you, O Christ.



Having read these readings, think of this:

Our religion and our religious practice must not be a monument to an unknown God. We do indeed live within the boundaries of our mortality and the limits of our knowledge. We know that we die. And right now we certainly do not know enough about the future. But we are not left simply to grope for God. Rather, within those boundaries — and within the boundaries of social distancing — Christ comes to us, making us alive together with him. In him we know God and that God is not far from any one of us. Christ has died to bring us to God. In our baptism Christ has made us a family, even if we are distant from each other. The Spirit poured out from his resurrection abides with us, binding us together. We see the living Christ in the word, a place of refreshment for us. And that word bids us not to fear, but gently and reverently to tell our world and our neighbors about the hope that is in us.


If you have a hymnal (or using the graphic below), you might now sing or read “Alleluia! Sing to Jesus” (Evangelical Lutheran Worship 392) or “Many and Great, O God” (Evangelical Lutheran Worship 837).

Alleluia! Sing to Jesus

Many and Great, O God


Then pray together these prayers for our church and world:

As we welcome our God into the sanctuaries of our homes, let us pray for all the needs of the world, responding to each petition with words that echo today’s psalm: “O God, hear us.”

A brief silence.

Abiding God, come into all the homes around the globe from which your people offer their prayer. Bless Christian leaders as they guide the church through this pandemic. Show our pastors and our church councils the way forward. Grant your grace also to the devout in other religions of the world, and show your kindness to all who search for you, whether within or outside the church.

A brief silence.

For this we pray:
O God, hear us!

Creating God, revitalize the health of oceans, rivers, lakes, springs, glaciers, and other bodies of water that give life to your creatures. Especially we pray for our local bodies of water (local bodies of water may be named). Form us unto a baptized body that protects the waters on which we rely.

A brief silence.

For this we pray:
O God, hear us!

Righteous God, instill in all the leaders of nations a desire for justice and the will to serve the oppressed. We pray especially for those nations in which dictatorship threatens the population. Guide our nation’s governors in their difficult pathway between the threat of disease and the dangers of scarcity and isolation. Bring our legislators into agreement about how to assist those in need. Give us patience in facing our current predicament.

A brief silence.

For this we pray:
O God, hear us!

Compassionate God, visit all who are in great need, those who suffer from the coronavirus, those living in loneliness and fear, those without jobs, and those who mourn their dead. Uphold those whose futures have been taken away from them. We pray for health care workers and for the residents in care homes, prisons, and refugee camps. For the countless persons who carry heavy burdens on their back, we pray, and we call out to you these names:

A brief silence.

For this we pray:
O God, hear us!

Benevolent God, give the world a vaccine.

A brief silence.

For this we pray:
O God, hear us!

Fatherly and motherly God, embrace all orphans. Support the agencies that attend to the world’s orphans. Shield orphaned children from traffickers. Give to all nations wisdom concerning the refugees who are children. Watch over all children whose usual care-givers are absent. Form us into your children who love all your whom you have made.

A brief silence.

For this we pray:
O God, hear us!

Loving God, once again each of us offers our personal praises and petitions.

A brief silence.

For this we pray:
O God, hear us!

Eternal God, your kingdom is here now, and it has no end. We remember the saints who have gone before us, especially King Erik of Sweden, Queen Helena of the Roman Empire, those who have died of Covid-19, and those who remember in our hearts. Unite us forever in the resurrection of Jesus Christ.

A brief silence.

For this we pray:
O God, hear us!

With bold confidence in your love, merciful God, we place all for whom we pray into your eternal care, through Jesus Christ, our Savior and Lord.


If you have a hymnal (or using the graphic below), you might now sing or read “Come, Gracious Spirit, Heavenly Dove” (Evangelical Lutheran Worship 404) or “Now Thank We All Our God.” (Evangelical Lutheran Worship 839/840)

Come, Gracious Spirit, Heavenly Dove

Now Thank We All Our God


Then conclude with these prayers:

Let us pray.

A brief silence is kept before the prayer.

Almighty God, you give us the joy of celebrating our Lord’s resurrection. Give us also the joys of life in your service, and bring us at last to the full joy of life eternal, through Jesus Christ, our Savior and Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever.

Our Father in heaven,
hallowed be your name,
your kingdom come,
your will be done,
on earth as in heaven.
Give us today our daily bread.
Forgive us our sins
as we forgive those who sin against us.
Save us from the time of trial,
and deliver us from evil.
For the kingdom, the power,
and the glory are yours,
now and forever.

The God of hope fill us with all joy and peace in believing, so that we may abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.

The God of all grace  ☩ bless us now and forever.

Alleluia! Christ is risen!
Christ is risen indeed! Alleluia!


Ascension of Our Lord: On Thursday, May 21, the church observes the Ascension of Our Lord. A Worship in the Home resource is available for this day. 

Devotional Music Links: For your individual or group devotion, you may choose to listen to the following choral recordings made available through Augsburg Fortress: “Jesus Loves Me/We are Baptized in Christ Jesus”; “Once Led to Your Font.”

Readings for the Week:
Monday (commemoration of Erik, King of Sweden, martyr, died 1160) Psalm 93. Tuesday 1 Peter 3:8-12. WednesdayJohn 16:16-24. Thursday (Ascension of Our Lord; commemoration of Helena, mother of Constantine, died around 330) Luke 24:44-53. Friday Ephesians 2:1-7. Saturday 2 Kings 2:13-15.. Seventh Sunday of Easter(commemoration of Nicolaus Copernicus, died 1543; Leonhard Euler, died 1783; scientists) Acts 1:6-14; Psalm 68:1-01, 32;35; 1 Peter 4:12-14, 15:6-11; John 17:1-11.

Daily Prayer Resources are now available, including simple forms of Morning, Evening, and Night Prayer; Responsive Prayer; and prayers for mealtimes and other occasions.

Reflection material: Gordon Lathrop. Intercessory Prayer: Gail Ramshaw

Portions from Evangelical Lutheran Worship and sundaysandseasons.com, © 2020 Augsburg Fortress. All rights reserved. Reprinted by permission under Augsburg Fortress.

Readings from Readings for the Assembly © 1995, 1996, 1997 Augsburg Fortress. Citations from the Revised Common Lectionary © 1992 Consultation on Common Texts. Scripture quotations from NRSV Bible, Copyright © 1989, Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America, adapted and edited with permission by Gordon Lathrop and Gail Ramshaw.

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