Worship Under Lockdown

By Taylor Burton-Edwards

The people of Boston and its suburbs are under lockdown today (Friday, April 19) while police continue a manhunt for one of the suspects in the Boston Marathon bombing this past Monday.

Should the lockdown continue into the weekend, here is a worship service that may be used by families, individuals, or neighbors who wish to gather for worship where they are or via Skype or other social media.

The Worship of God
Sunday, April 21, 2013
"Good Shepherd Sunday"

Items needed: candle, Bible, mp3 player (if you want to use the downloadable hymn accompaniments), the service order below. The service order designates up to 12 readers. You may adapt who reads based on the number of people available.

Gather around a table. Stand or sit in silence, calming your minds, focusing and grounding your thoughts.

Someone may light a candle.

Leader: Light and peace in Jesus Christ our Lord.
People: Thanks be to God.

Leader gestures for all to stand and sing:

Hymn: He Leadeth Me, O Blessed Thought (accompaniment)
Words: Joseph H. Gilmore, 1862, based on Psalm 23, alt.
Music: William B. Bradbury, 1864

He leadeth me, O blessèd thought!
O words with heav’nly comfort fraught!
Whate’er I do, where’er I be
Still ’tis Christ’s hand that leadeth me.

He leadeth me, he leadeth me,
by His own hand he leadeth me;
his faithful follower I would be,
For by his hand he leadeth me.

Sometimes mid scenes of deepest gloom,
sometimes where Eden’s bowers bloom,
by waters still, over troubled sea,
still ’tis Christ's hand that leadeth me.


Lord, I would place my hand in Thine,
nor ever murmur nor repine;
content, whatever lot I see,
since ’tis my Lord that leadeth me.


And when my task on earth is done,
when by Thy grace the vict’ry’s won,
E'en death’s cold wave I will not flee,
since Christ through Jordan leadeth me.


Leader gestures for all to be seated.

Reader 1:
A reading from "Acts of the Apostles"
(Acts 9:36-43 Common English Bible (CEB))

36 In Joppa there was a disciple named Tabitha (in Greek her name is Dorcas). Her life overflowed with good works and compassionate acts on behalf of those in need. 37 About that time, though, she became so ill that she died. After they washed her body, they laid her in an upstairs room. 38 Since Lydda was near Joppa, when the disciples heard that Peter was there, they sent two people to Peter. They urged, “Please come right away!”

39 Peter went with them. Upon his arrival, he was taken to the upstairs room. All the widows stood beside him, crying as they showed the tunics and other clothing Dorcas made when she was alive.

40 Peter sent everyone out of the room, then knelt and prayed. He turned to the body and said, “Tabitha, get up!” She opened her eyes, saw Peter, and sat up.

41 He gave her his hand and raised her up. Then he called God’s holy people, including the widows, and presented her alive to them. 42 The news spread throughout Joppa, and many put their faith in the Lord. 43 Peter stayed for some time in Joppa with a certain tanner named Simon.

Silence (30 seconds to 1 minute)

Reader 1:
(Gesturing all to stand)
Remembering Tabitha, and commending her
and all around the world
who have died or suffered serious injury this week,
to Christ, our Good Shepherd,
let us pray together in the words of Psalm 23:

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 overfloweth.

Surely, goodness and mercy shall follow me
all the days of my life.
And I will dwell in the house of the Lord

(Gesture all to be seated).

Reader 2:
A reading from "A Revelation of Jesus Christ to John"
Revelation 7: 9-17

9 After this I looked, and there was a great crowd that no one could number. They were from every nation, tribe, people, and language. They were standing before the throne and before the Lamb. They wore white robes and held palm branches in their hands. 10 They cried out with a loud voice:

“Victory belongs to our God
who sits on the throne,
and to the Lamb.”

Reader 2:

11 All the angels stood in a circle around the throne, and around the elders and the four living creatures. They fell face down before the throne and worshiped God, 12 saying,


“Amen! Blessing and glory
and wisdom and thanksgiving
and honor and power and might
be to our God forever and always. Amen.”

Reader 2:
Let us pray.

O God to whom angels, elders, living creatures,
and peoples of every nation, tribe, and language
offer ceaseless praise,
receive our prayers for all who have joined their company this week:
slake their thirst,
relieve their hunger,
reward their labors,
bring them to living waters,
and wipe every tear from their eyes;
through Jesus Christ our Shepherd.


Reader 2:

13 Then one of the elders said to me, “Who are these people wearing white robes, and where did they come from?” 14 I said to him, “Sir, you know.”

Then he said to me, “These people have come out of great hardship. They have washed their robes and made them white in the Lamb’s blood. 15 This is the reason they are before God’s throne. They worship him day and night in his temple, and the one seated on the throne will shelter them. 16 They won’t hunger or thirst anymore. No sun or scorching heat will beat down on them, 17 because the Lamb who is in the midst of the throne will shepherd them. He will lead them to the springs of life-giving water, and God will wipe away every tear from their eyes.”

Silence (30 second to 1 minute)

Reader 2:
Let us pray.

Lord Jesus Christ, Lamb of God,
look on us, and on all people
in all our hardships,
and stay with us,
that by your grace
and the guidance of your Spirit
we may be counted among those lives are made clean
by your blood,
freed from the power of sin and death,
we may live to sing your praise,
now and in the age of new creation.


Reader 2 may gesture for all to stand to sing.

Hymn: Come, Let Us Join Our Friends Above (accompaniment)
Words: Charles Wesley, 1759
Music: Forest Green (traditional English tune)

Pause the recording after verse 2; sing verse 3 more slowly, a capella joining hands as the verse indicates; resume recording to sing verse 4.

Come, let us join our friends above, who have obtained the prize,
and on the eagle wings of love to joys celestial rise.
Let saints on earth unite to sing with those to glory gone,
for all the servants of our king in earth and Heaven are one.

One family we dwell in Him, one church above, beneath,
though now divided by the stream, the narrow stream of death;
one army of the living God, to His command we bow;
part of His host have crossed the flood, and part are crossing now.

Ten thousand to their endless home this solemn moment fly,
and we are to the margin come, and we expect to die.
Even now by faith we join our hands with those that went before;
and greet the blood-besprinkled bands on the eternal shore.

Our spirits too shall quickly join, like theirs with glory crowned,
and shout to see our captain’s sign, to hear His trumpet sound.
O that we now might grasp our guide! O that the word were given!
Come, Lord of Hosts, the waves divide, and land us all in heaven.

All remain standing for the gospel reading.

Reader 3:
A reading from the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ according to John.

Glory to the Lamb!

Reader 3:

22 The time came for the Festival of Dedication (Hanukkah) in Jerusalem. It was winter, 23 and Jesus was in the temple, walking in the covered porch named for Solomon. 24 The religious leaders who opposed him circled around him and asked,

“How long will you test our patience? If you are the Christ, tell us plainly.”

25 Jesus answered, “I have told you, but you don’t believe. The works I do in my Father’s name testify about me, 26 but you don’t believe because you don’t belong to my sheep. 27 My sheep listen to my voice. I know them and they follow me. 28 I give them eternal life. They will never die, and no one will snatch them from my hand. 29 My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all, and no one is able to snatch them from my Father’s hand. 30 I and the Father are one.”

Reader 3:
The gospel of the Lord.

We will listen to your voice and follow, Good Shepherd.

Silence (30 seconds to 1 minute). Gesture for people to sit or kneel for the prayers.

Reader 4:
Let us pray to God with the church, the world, and one another:

With leaders in your church, especially those who have led us in worship this day, all the baptized who lead in the many ministries of our churches and communities,
and with all those commissioned or ordained to particular ministries of leadership in our own congregations and in every church:
popes, patriarchs, bishops, district superintendents,
deacons, pastors, elders, missionaries...
that together we may hear your voice, and follow where you lead.

Hear our prayer, O God, and help us declare your glory.

Reader 5:
With leaders of nations, corporations, and peoples, that they may work for the common good with justice and peace...

Hear our prayer, O God, that your victory may be known.

Reader 6:
With all who work to keep others safe and free from harm and danger, especially police, fire fighters, emergency responders, and military and government personnel...

Hear our prayer, O God, and shelter us.

Reader 7:
With all who help when harm has come our way,
especially nurses, orderlies, paramedics, EMTs,
physicians, pharmacists, counselors, chaplains,
and friends, neighbors, strangers and family
who come to the side of people in distress...

Hear our prayer, O God, and wipe every tear from our eyes.

Reader 8:
With all who live in harm's way,
in places of hunger, war, abuse, oppression or disease,
that we may soon witness their deliverance...

Hear our prayer, O God, and set us all free.

Reader 9:
With the earth and all our fellow creatures,
that we may live in harmony
and share earth's resources
wisely and generously...

Hear our prayer, O God, and shepherd us.

Reader 10:
With all who will be born today,
and all who will die,
that they may be surrounded by many others
who will show them compassion...

Hear our prayer, O God, and grant them living water.

Reader 11:
For ourselves and for each other,
and with all who have asked us to pray...

Individual requests may be named. When all who wish have spoken, the reader resumes:

Hear our prayer, O God,

and grant us your salvation.

Reader 12:
With enemies and all who have sinned against us,
through neglect or malice,
or reasons beyond our knowing...

Hear our prayer, O God, and have mercy upon them and us.

Reader 12:
For the forgiveness of our sins,
our failures to listen and follow where you lead,
and for the power to show mercy to others
and to amend our own lives...


Hear our prayer, O God, and deliver us from evil.


Reader 12:
Hear and believe this good news.
If we confess our sins,
God is faithful and just,
and forgives our sins,
and cleanses us from all unrighteousness.
In the name of Jesus Christ, we are forgiven.

In the name of Jesus Christ, we are all forgiven!

Reader 12:
The peace of Christ be always with you.
And also with you.

Share the peace of Christ with one another.

Reader 12: (when all are regathered)
Let us pray as Christ has taught us.

Our Father, who art in heaven,
hallowed be thy name.
Thy kingdom come.
Thy will be done on earth
as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread.
And forgive us our trespasses,
as we forgive those who trespass against us.
And lead us not into temptation,
but deliver us from evil.
For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory,
for ever and ever. Amen.

Reader 12:
Alleluia! Let us go forth in peace,
rejoicing in the love and power of the Risen Christ,
the Good Shepherd.

Thanks be to God. Alleluia and Amen!

All sing: (accompaniment)
Amen, Amen, Amen, Amen, Amen.

Copyrights and permissions
"Worship Under Lockdown," developed by Taylor Burton-Edwards. Original elements Copyright (c) 2013, The General Board of Discipleship of The United Methodist Church. You are free to reproduce this service by any means for use in worship and educational settings provided you include this complete permissions statement, including the citation below. You may not sell it or place it in any print or electronic volume intended for sale without prior written permission from [email protected].

Scripture readings in this service are from the Common English Bible (CEB)
Copyright © 2011 by Common English Bible. Used by permission.