Worship in the Home: April 25, 2021

Posted on April 20, 2021 by ELCA Worship

Worship in the Home

Fourth Sunday of Easter, Year B
April 25, 2021

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.

Find a peaceful place to pray, perhaps a table. You may wish to light a candle and place a bowl of water in remembrance of your baptism. One person may lead this acclamation and then pray the Prayer of the Day.

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

The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, the love of God, and the communion of the Holy Spirit be with us all.

Let us pray.
A brief silence is kept before the prayer.

O Lord Christ, good shepherd of the sheep, you seek the lost and guide us into your fold. Feed us, and we shall be satisfied; heal us, and we shall be whole. Make us one with you, for you live and reign with the Father and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever.


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

First Reading: Acts 4:5-12

5The next day their rulers, elders, and scribes assembled in Jerusalem, 6with Annas the high priest, Caiaphas, John, and Alexander, and all who were of the high-priestly family. 7When they had made the prisoners Peter and John stand in their midst, they inquired, “By what power or by what name did you do this?” 8Then Peter, filled with the Holy Spirit, said to them, “Rulers of the people and elders, 9if we are questioned today because of a good deed done to someone who was sick and are asked how this man has been healed, 10let it be known to all of you, and to all the people of Israel, that this man is standing before you in good health by the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, whom you crucified, whom God raised from the dead. 11This Jesus is
‘the stone that was rejected by you, the builders;
it has become the cornerstone.’
12There is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given among mortals by which we must be saved.”

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


The Psalm may be sung or read in response to the First Reading.

Psalm 23

1The LORD | is my shepherd;
I shall not | be in want.
2The LORD makes me lie down | in green pastures
and leads me be- | side still waters.
3You restore my | soul, O LORD,
and guide me along right pathways | for your name’s sake.
4Though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I shall | fear no evil;
for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they | comfort me.
5You prepare a table before me in the presence | of my enemies;
you anoint my head with oil, and my cup is | running over.
6Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days | of my life,
and I will dwell in the house of the | LORD forever.


Second Reading: 1 John 3:16-24

16We know love by this, that Jesus Christ laid down his life for us—and we ought to lay down our lives for one another. 17How does God’s love abide in anyone who has the world’s goods and sees a brother or sister in need and yet refuses help?

18Little children, let us love, not in word or speech, but in truth and action. 19And by this we will know that we are from the truth and will reassure our hearts before God 20whenever our hearts condemn us; for God is greater than our hearts, and God knows everything. 21Beloved, if our hearts do not condemn us, we have boldness before God; 22and we receive from God whatever we ask, because we obey the commandments and do what pleases God.

23And this is God’s commandment, that we should believe in the name of Jesus Christ, the Son of God, and love one another, just as Jesus has commanded us. 24All who obey God’s commandments abide in God, and God abides in them. And by this we know that God abides in us, by the Spirit that God has given us.

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


Gospel: John 10:11-18

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

[Jesus said:] 11“I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep. 12The hired hand, who is not the shepherd and does not own the sheep, sees the wolf coming and leaves the sheep and runs away—and the wolf snatches them and scatters them. 13The hired hand runs away because a hired hand does not care for the sheep. 14I am the good shepherd. I know my own and my own know me, 15just as the Father knows me and I know the Father. And I lay down my life for the sheep. 16I have other sheep that do not belong to this fold. I must bring them also, and they will listen to my voice. So there will be one flock, one shepherd. 17For this reason the Father loves me, because I lay down my life in order to take it up again. 18No one takes it from me, but I lay it down of my own accord. I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it up again. I have received this command from my Father.”

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



Having read these readings, think on this:

In the ancient Near East, kings and other leaders were often compared with shepherds. But many of them were quite awful, serving only themselves, misleading and betraying and even forsaking the people. They could destroy instead of working to build. We too sometimes have bad leaders. We may even be tempted to support them. Or we may ourselves be such leaders. But Jesus Christ, crucified and risen, is the Good Shepherd. He does his “shepherding” — his knowing and leading us — by laying down his life in love, by staying with us, sharing our need and death, and never running away. By the Spirit God gives us through the scriptures — as also through the water of baptism and the overflowing cup of the eucharist — we know him and his healing name. Even now, in a time of separation, the risen Christ is drawing us together into unity as one flock with the one true shepherd. Saved from ourselves and from bad leadership, we are formed to believe in the name of Jesus, to love each other, and to give ourselves to our neighbor’s needs.


If you have a hymnal, you may now sing or read “The King of Love My Shepherd Is” (Evangelical Lutheran Worship 502),My Shepherd, You Supply My Need” (Evangelical Lutheran Worship 782). Selected hymns are provided below for those without a hymnal at home.

The King of Love My Shepherd Is

My Shepherd, You Supply My Need


Then pray these intercessions:

On this fourth Sunday of Easter, let us pray for the church, the earth, and all in any need, responding to each petition with the words, “Abide with us in love.”

A brief silence.

God of goodness and mercy, we pray for the church: that bishops, pastors, and deacons be upheld in their tasks as shepherds of your flock; and that congregations persevere in their ministries of nurture of the young and care for the aging.

A brief silence.

O God, steadfast shepherd of the church, we pray:
Abide with us in love.

We pray for members of other world religions: that there be an end to interreligious strife; that Sikhs be comforted in their sorrow; and that during Ramadan Muslims be strengthened for lives of prayer and service.

A brief silence.

O God, gracious keeper of many flocks, we pray:
Abide with us in love.

We pray for the earth: that green pastures and clear waters be provided for herds and flocks, those raised for human use and those living wild; and that farm fields be saved from storm or drought.

A brief silence.

O God, mighty preserver of the universe, we pray:
Abide with us in love.

We pray for the nations of the earth: that governments cease aggression against their neighbors; that peace come to Afghanistan, Syria, and Myanmar; and that China, Russia, and the United States coexist in concord with each other.

A brief silence:

O God, the true cornerstone of society, we pray:
Abide with us in love.

We pray for justice in our land: that our criminal justice system continue to be reformed; that ethnic and economic prejudices cease their holds on our people; and that there be peace in our streets.

A brief silence.

O God, almighty judge of righteousness, we pray:
Abide with us in love.

We pray for those who are hungry: the unemployed, the underemployed, those living in refugee camps or on our streets, the migrants seeking a better life; that they be fed.

A brief silence.

O God, benevolent table of food and fellowship, we pray:
Abide with us in love.

We pray for all who are sick or suffering: for those stricken with the coronavirus, especially in India and Brazil; for the children who have known continual sorrow; and for those we name here before you. . . .

A brief silence.

O God, healer of our every ill, we pray:
Abide with us in love.

We pray finally for ourselves: that you will receive the petitions of our hearts.

A longer period of silence.

O God, tender shepherd of each of us, we pray:
Abide with us in love.

We praise you for all the sheep of your fold, each lamb of your own flock. Especially today we thank you for the evangelist Mark and for his gospel book of faith. Bring us with all the saints to dwell in your house forever.

A brief silence.

O God, eternal giver of life, we pray:
Abide with us in love.

In the hope of new life in Christ, we raise our prayers to you, trusting in your never-ending goodness and mercy, through Jesus Christ, our Savior and Lord.


If you have a hymnal, you may now sing or read “Savior, like a Shepherd Lead Us” (Evangelical Lutheran Worship 789),Have No Fear, Little Flock” (Evangelical Lutheran Worship 764). Selected hymns are provided below for those without a hymnal at home.

Savior, like a Shepherd Lead Us


Then conclude with these prayers:

Let us pray.
A brief silence is kept before the prayer.

Praise to you, O God, for your Word of life:
creating a wondrous universe,
proclaiming freedom from captivity,
becoming the song of your people.
We praise you, O God, for your Word.
We praise you, O God, for your Word.

Your Word is made flesh among us:
with Mary in the garden, you call us by name.
With Thomas beholding your wounds, you call us to believe.
With sheep of other folds, we are gathered by your voice.
Your Word names our death and our life:
a seed that falls into the earth and dies,
rain and snow that come down from heaven to water the earth,
a vine in which we abide.
Through your Word, you appoint us to bear fruit, fruit that will last.
We bless you, O God, for your Word.
We bless you, O God, for your Word.

By your living Word, we are witnesses of these things.
Breathe into us your Holy Spirit.
Open our minds to understand the scriptures.
Give us wisdom to declare what we have heard,
what we have seen with our eyes,
what we have looked at and touched with our hands
concerning the word of life.
Fill us with strength to love, not in word or speech alone,
but in truth and action.

With every creature in heaven and on earth
and under the earth and in the sea, and all that is in them,
we join in the hymn of all creation, as
we thank you, O God, for your life-giving Word.
We thank you, O God, for your life-giving Word.


Gathered into one by the Holy Spirit, let us pray as Jesus taught us:
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.


Then speak the Blessing:

May our glorious God grant us a spirit of wisdom
to know and to love the risen Lord Jesus.

The God of life,
Father, + Son and Holy Spirit, bless us now and forever.

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


Devotional Music Links: For your individual or group devotion, you may choose to listen to the following choral recordings made available through Augsburg Fortress: “The Day of Resurrection;” “The Lord Is My Shepherd;” “We Trust in God Alone.”

Readings for the Week:
Monday Psalm 95. Tuesday Revelation 7:13-17. Wednesday Mark 14:26-31. Thursday (commemoration of Catherine of Siena, theologian, 1380) Psalm 22:25-31. Friday Amos 8:11-13. Saturday (Philip and James, Apostles) John 14:8-14. Fifth Sunday of Easter (commemoration of Athanasius, Bishop of Alexandria, 373) Acts 8:26-40; Psalm 22:25-31; 1 John 4:7-21; John 15:1-8.

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

Due to copyright restrictions, we are only able to provide downloadable hymns that are in the public domain and selected hymns for limited use. To purchase copies of Evangelical Lutheran Worship and All Creation Sings for the home, visit the Augsburg Fortress website or call 1-800-328-4648. Selected hymns from All Creation Sings will be provided for limited use.

Reflection text: Gordon Lathrop. Intercessory Prayer: Gail Ramshaw.

Portions from Evangelical Lutheran Worship, All Creation Sings, and sundaysandseasons.com © 2021 Augsburg Fortress. All rights reserved. Used with permission.

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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