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The Lord Is My Shepherd

A Service of Song on Psalm 23 for Good Friday

Last year during Lent at St. Matthew’s Anglican Church (ANIC) in Abbotsford, British Columbia, we used “The Lord, Our Shepherd” series from Reformed Worship (Issue 66, December 2002). The series, based on Psalm 23, offered suggestions for a Maundy Thursday service but not one for Good Friday. Because we were worshiping on Good Friday we created a service that includes all of Psalm 23 along with related readings, choral music, and congregational singing. Because the King James Version of Psalm 23 is so well known we opted to use that version for the psalm. We also used objects representing the psalm’s themes that two dancers placed on a table up front before each reading. Young people in the congregation served as the readers. The original idea for this service came from John L. Bell’s reading of Psalm 23 during a vespers service at the Calvin Symposium on Worship in 2012.

The printed music available with this service comes from the free resource Praise God in the Heights: Descants by Larry Visser, available as a download through the Calvin Institute of Christian Worship.

Prelude

Organ Variations on “Crimond” arr. S. VanderPloeg
Option: “Partita on ‘Crimond’” Gordon Young

Called and Gathered

Call to Worship

(Based on Psalm 95:6–7)
Come, let us worship and bow down.
Let us kneel before our maker.
Know that the Lord alone is God.
God made us, not we ourselves.
We are the people God tends.
We are the flock God shepherds.

The Lord be with you.
And also with you.

Let us pray. (Brief silence)
Shepherding God,
we are awed to be in your presence
realizing that you loved us so much
you sacrificed a spotless lamb,
your son, Jesus Christ,
in order that we might be redeemed.
Accept now our imperfect worship
made perfect through our union with Christ
in the power of the Holy Spirit.
Amen.
—Rev. Joyce Borger, used with permission

Optional Hymns: “To My Precious Lord” LUYH 136, GtG 704 or “Go to Dark Gethsemane” LUYH 161, PsH 381, WR 272, GtG 220

Opening Sentences

Who has believed our message and to whom has the arm of the Lord been revealed?
Surely he took up our pain and bore our suffering,
yet we considered him punished by God, stricken by him, and afflicted.
But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities;
the punishment that brought us peace was on him,
and by his wounds we are healed (Isaiah 53:1, 4–5).

Option: Read the above text and intersperse with “Our Eyes Are Turned” LUYH 460, PFAS 71C (alt)

What’s happened? Why are you here?
We have come because they have crucified our Lord.
Who has crucified your Lord?
The Roman soldiers, at Pilate’s command, as requested by the Jewish leaders.
But I heard you yell “Crucify!” in the awful silence of your souls.
We all, like sheep, have gone astray, each of us has turned to our own way; and the Lord has laid on him the iniquity of us all.

Optional Sung Response: “My Song is Love Unknown” LUYH 148, TH 182, GtG 209

The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want.

Reading

Psalm 23:1
(Tablecloth and shepherd’s crook are placed on table.)

Reading

John 10:14–15

Reading

Isaiah 53:6

Hymn

“Shepherd Me, O God” LUYH 456, PFAS 23H, SNC 181, GtG 473
Option: “The Lord Is My Shepherd” PFAS 23K, SWM 192

He makes me lie down in green pastures. He leads me beside still waters. He restores my soul.

Reading

Psalm 23:1b–3a
(Basin and towel are placed centrally.)

Reading

John 13:3–9

Hymn

“Jesus Took a Towel” Chrysogonus Waddell
Options: “Jesus’ Hands Were Kind Hands” SWM 222, WR 634
or “The Servant Song” LUYH 309, SNC 277, WR 391

He leads me in paths of righteousness for his name’s sake.

Reading

(Cross is placed before reading.)
Psalm 23:3b

Reading

John 14:6

Choral

“The Way of the Cross Leads Home” Mary McDonald
Option: “I Am the Way and the Truth and the Life” Bob Hurd

Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death . . .

Reading

Psalm 23:4a
(Spear placed on table during reading.)

Reading

Isaiah 53:5

Choral

“O Love Divine” from “Behold the Darkness: A Tenebrae Service” by Benjamin Harlan
Option: “Man of Sorrows—What a Name” LUYH 170, PH 482, TH 246, WR 301

Even though I walk through the valley . . .

Reading

(Large stone is placed before reading.)
Psalm 23:4a

Reading

Mark 14:32–41

Choral

“Go to Dark Gethsemane” from “Behold the Darkness: A Tenebrae Service” by Benjamin Harlan
Options: “Go to Dark Gethsemane” LUYH 161, PsH 381, WR 272, GtG 220

Reading

Isaiah 53:11

Even though I walk . . .

Reading

Psalm 23:4a
(Purple cloth is placed on table.)

Reading

Matthew 27:28–31

Reading

Isaiah 53:7

Choral

“Gethsemane Hymn” Keith Getty & Stuart Townend
Option: Sing the congregational version of “Gethsemane Hymn”

I will fear no evil, for you are with me . . .

Reading

Psalm 23:4b
(Crown of thorns is placed on table.)

Reading

Mark 15:21–32

Choral

“To Mock Your Reign” Fred Pratt Green and Lloyd Larson
Option: “To Mock Your Reign, O Dearest Lord” LUYH 162, WR 278

Reading

Isaiah 53:8–9

Choral

“O Sacred Head, Now Wounded” from “Behold the Darkness: A Tenebrae Service” by Benjamin Harlan
Option: “O Sacred Head, Now Wounded” LUYH 168, PH 98, PsH 383, TH 247, WR 284, GtG 221

Your rod and your staff, they comfort me

Reading

Psalm 23:4c
(Curtain torn in two and placed on table.)

Reading

Mark 15:33–39

Hymn

“Lamb of God” GtG 518, WR 281
Option: “My Song Is Love Unknown” LUYH 148, TH 182, GtG 209 sung to the tune LOVE UNKNOWN or RHOSYMEDRE

You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies.

Reading

Psalm 23:5
(Bread and wine are placed centrally.)

Reading

Matthew 26:20–25

Choral

“Here, O My Lord, I See Thee Face to Face” TH 378
Option: “Jesus Paid It All” TH 308 or the contemporary version by Alex Nifong

You anoint my head with oil . . .

Reading

Psalm 23:5b
(Bottle of perfume is placed centrally.)

Reading

John 12:3–8

Choral

“Mary Bearing Myrrh” Mary Kay Beall
Option: “Lead Me to Calvary” WR 253

You anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows.

Reading

Psalm 23:5b
(Large goblet is placed on table.)

Reading

Luke 22:41–42

Reading

John 19:28–30

Choral

“What Wondrous Love” from “Behold the Darkness: A Tenebrae Service” by Benjamin Harlan
Option: “What Wondrous Love Is This” (see p. 12) LUYH 164, PH 85, PsH 379, SNC 142, TH 261, WR 257, GtG 215 or “What Grace Is This” (see p. 14) LUYH 163

Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life . . .

Reading

(Linen is placed on table.)
Psalm 23:6a

Reading

Luke 23:50–56

Choral

“Were You There” from “Behold the Darkness: A Tenebrae Service” by Benjamin Harlan
Option: “Were You There” LUYH 166, PH 102, PsH 377, TH 260, WR 283, GtG 228

And I shall dwell in the house of the Lord forever.

Reading

(Hammer and nails are placed on table before reading.)
Psalm 23:6c

Reading

John 13:36

Reading

John 14:2

Hymn

“The Lord’s My Shepherd, I’ll Not Want” GtG 801, LUYH 732, PFAS 23B
Option: Sing to the alternative tune RESIGNATION PFAS 23A

Reading

(Scroll is placed on table before the reading.)
Revelation 5:6–14

Hymn

“Agnus Dei” SNC 39

Prayer

Lord Jesus Christ,
Son of the living God,
we pray you to set your passion, cross, and death
between your judgment and our souls,
now and in the hour of our death.
Give mercy and grace to the living;
pardon and rest to the dead;
to your holy Church peace and concord;
and to us sinners everlasting life and glory;
for with the Father and the Holy Spirit
you live and reign,
one God, now and for ever.
Amen.
—Text taken from The Book of Common Prayer (Episcopal Church US, 1979).

Blessing

Now may the God of peace
who brought again from the dead
our Lord Jesus, the great shepherd of the sheep,
by the blood of the eternal covenant,
equip you with everything good that you may do his will,
working in us that which is pleasing in his sight,
through Jesus Christ, to whom be glory forever and ever. Amen.
—Hebrews 13:20–21, ESV

And the blessing of God almighty,
the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit,
be with you and remain with you always. Amen.

Closing Song

“Oh, To See the Dawn” LUYH 177, RW 110