Using a Confession of Sins as a Call to Worship

A Call to Worship
Today Your Mercy Calls Us

This is a guest post, written by Pastor Michael Zarling of Epiphany Lutheran Church located in Racine WI. This confession of sins serves as a Call to Worship and was written for use on the seventeenth Sunday after Pentecost. Consider adding CW339 (Today Your Mercy Calls Us) in your list of hymns for the day. You can either have the worship leader read the poetic hymn verses noted below or have the worship team play the hymn softly in the background during the readings and have the congregation sing the verses as they appear.

M: The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ and the love of God and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you.
C: And also with you.

Today your mercy calls us; To wash away our sin.
However great our trespass; Whatever we have been.
However long from mercy; Our hearts have turned away.
Your precious blood can wash us; And make us clean today.


M: God invites us to come into his presence and worship him with humble and penitent hearts. Therefore, let us acknowledge our sinfulness and ask him to forgive us.

C: Holy and merciful Father, I confess that I am by nature sinful, and that I have disobeyed you in my thoughts, words, and actions. I have done what is evil and failed to do what is good. For this I deserve your punishment both now and in eternity. But I am truly sorry for my sins, and trusting in my Savior Jesus Christ, I pray: Lord, have mercy on me, a sinner.

M: God, our heavenly Father, has been merciful to us and has given his only Son to be the atoning sacrifice for our sins. Therefore, as a called servant of Christ and by his authority, I forgive you all your sins in the name of the Father and of the Son (+) and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.

Today your gate is open; And all who enter in.
Shall find a Father’s welcome; And pardon for their sin.
The past shall be forgotten; A present joy be given,
A future grace be promised; A glorious crown in heaven.


M: Lord Jesus Christ, submitting to a sinner’s baptism,
C: have mercy on me, a sinner.
M: Lord Jesus Christ, giving your body and blood to be eaten and drunk,
C: have mercy on me, a sinner.
M: Lord Jesus Christ, trampling down death by death,
C: have mercy on me, a sinner.
M: Lord Jesus Christ, sanctifying our graves by lying in a tomb,
C: have mercy on me, a sinner.
M: Lord Jesus Christ, harrowing hell and releasing the prisoners,
C: have mercy on me, a sinner.
M: Lord Jesus Christ, rising in victory over death and corruption,
C: have mercy on me, a sinner.

M: Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, and into an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade– kept in heaven for you, who through faith are shielded by God’s power until the coming of the salvation that is ready to be revealed in the last time. (1 Peter 1:3-5)

Today our Father calls us; His Holy Spirit waits.
His blessed angels gather; Around the heavenly gates.
No question will be asked us; How often we have come.
Although we oft have wandered; It is our Father’s home.

O all-embracing Mercy; O ever-open Door.
What should we do without you; When heart and eye run over?
When all things seem against us; To drive us to despair.
We know one gate is open; One ear will hear our prayer.