Category Archives: Confession of Sins

Confession and Absolution of Sins for the Epiphanies


Confession And Absolution of Sins for the Epiphanies of Our Lord

by Michael Zarling
Guitar chords to “Songs of Thankfulness and Praise” by Steve Brown

In studying the history of the Epiphany Festival, one can see that the Western Church, when it does focus on the Epiphany, focuses mainly on the visit of the Magi. However, the ancient Festival of the Epiphany and its celebration in the Eastern Church focuses more on the Epiphany of the Lord with the visit of the Magi, Christ’s baptism and his first miracle at Cana.

The following text is an opening liturgy that addresses all three epiphany lessons (the Magi, the Baptism of our Lord, and the wedding at Cana) and uses two well known Epiphany hymns from the Christian Worship Lutheran Hymnal:

CW 91 – “The Star Proclaims the King is Here” by Coelius Sedulous
CW 82 – “Songs of Thankfulness and Praise” by Christopher Wordsworth

Sing: The star proclaims the King is here; But, Herod, why this senseless fear?
For he who came from heaven’s throne Does not desire an earthly crown. (CW: 91 v1)
Minister: In the name of God the Father,
Congregation: who placed a star in the sky to announce His Son’s birth.
M: In the name of God the Son,
C: who received a sinner’s baptism and revealed himself in his miracle at Cana.
M In the name of God the Holy Spirit,
C: who has brought us to believe in the great epiphanies of our Lord. Amen.
M: Lord Jesus Christ, born of the Virgin Mary, praised by the angels, adored by the shepherds and worshiped by the Magi,
C: have mercy on me, a sinner.
Sing: The wiser Magi saw from far And followed on his guiding star,
And, led by light, to Light they pressed And by their gifts their God confessed. (CW: 91 v2)
M: Lord Jesus Christ, held by St. Simeon, praised by St. Anna, and baptized by St. John,
C: have mercy on me, a sinner.
Sing: Within the Jordan River stood The pure and holy Lamb of God;
The Father’s voice, the Spirit-dove, Confirmed the Savior from above. (CW: 91 v3)
M: Lord Jesus Christ, changing water into wine, defeating the devil in the wilderness, driving out demons, cleansing the lepers, giving sight to the blind, granting hearing to the deaf, and bringing life from the dead,
C: have mercy on me, a sinner.
Sing: At Cana — miracle divine — When water reddened into wine,
The faithful saw his glory shown And put their trust in him alone. (CW: 91 v4)
M: In his great mercy, God called us out of the nations to his salvation, cleansed us in the waters of his baptism and revealed the power of his Son in Christ’s miracles. It is with this power and mercy, I, a called and ordained servant of Christ announce to all of you: I forgive you all your sins in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. (Sign of the cross)
C: Amen.
M: Praise be to our Triune God for the epiphanies of our Savior.
Sing: All glory unto Jesus be And praise for his epiphany,
Whom with the Father we adore And Holy Spirit evermore. (CW: 91 v5)
Hymn of the Day: #82 – “Songs of Thankfulness and Praise”
This hymn also mentions the epiphanies of our Lord – manifested by the star, manifested at Jordan’s stream, and manifested at Cana.

Here are the guitar chords to CW82:

F C (F) Dm (C) F
Songs of thank-ful-ness and praise, 
F C F Dm A
Je – sus, Lord, to you we raise,
Dm Gm C F (G7) C (F6) C (G) C
Man-i-fest-ed by the star to the Ma – gi from a – far,
G (Em) F/A F
Branch of royal David’s stem,
(Am) Bb (Cm) Bb
In your birth at Beth – le – hem,
D Gm C F
Anthems be to you ad-dressed,
Bb F (Dm) F C7 F
God in man made man – i – fest.

Note – Chords shown in parenthesis are optional.
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Psalm 139 – Confession of Sins


“Confessing to God provides forgiveness, while confessing to someone else provides healing.” – Aaron Stern

The following Confession of Sins can also be accompanied by song.
Contemporary Song Choices:
“Search My Heart” by Joel Houston
“Search Me Oh God” by Hillsongs
“How Great is the Love” by Paul Baloche
“Every Promise” by Keith Getty

Psalm 139:1-8 
M: You have searched me, Lord, and you know me.  You are well acquainted with my sin.
C: You know when I sit and when I rise; you perceive my thoughts from afar. I do confess of my sinful thoughts and ask for forgiveness.
M: You discern my going out and my lying down; you are familiar with all my ways. 
C: Before a word is on my tongue you, Lord, know it completely. I do confess of all the lies, the gossip and the indecent thoughts I have committed and ask for forgiveness.
M: You hem me in behind and before, and you lay your hand upon me. Such knowledge is too wonderful for me, too lofty for me to attain. 
C: Where can I go from your Spirit? Where can I flee from your presence? If I go up to the heavens, you are there; if I make my bed in the depths, you are there. 

Psalm 103:10-12 
M: He does not treat us as our sins deserve or repay us according to our iniquities. 
C: For as high as the heavens are above the earth, so great is his love for those who fear him; as far as the east is from the west, so far has he removed our transgressions from us.

James 5:16 
M: Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. 
C: We confess all of our sins to you Lord and to each other.
M: The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective.
C: Praise be to God. Forever! Amen.

A Confession of Sins Based on Psalm 51


A Confession of Sins Based on Psalm 51

King David was one horrific sinner. But wow did he know how to confess. What follows is a great Confession of Sins because it comes directly from God’s word (as written by David).

M: Have mercy on me, O God, according to your unfailing love;
C: according to your great compassion blot out my transgressions.
M: Wash away all my iniquity and cleanse me from my sin. For I know my transgressions, and my sin is always before me.
C: Against you, you only, have I sinned and done what is evil in your sight; so you are right in your verdict and justified when you judge.
M: Surely I was sinful at birth, sinful from the time my mother conceived me.
C: Yet you desired faithfulness even in the womb; you taught me wisdom in that secret place.
M: Cleanse me with hyssop, and I will be clean; wash me, and I will be whiter than snow.
C: Let me hear joy and gladness; let the bones you have crushed rejoice.
M: Hide your face from my sins and blot out all my iniquity.
C: Create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me.
M: Do not cast me from your presence or take your Holy Spirit from me.
C: Restore to me the joy of your salvation and grant me a willing spirit, to sustain me. Then I will teach transgressors your ways, so that sinners will turn back to you.
M: Deliver me from the guilt of bloodshed, O God, you who are God my Savior, and my tongue will sing of your righteousness.
C: Open my lips, Lord, and my mouth will declare your praise. 

A Confession of Sins for the Season of Epiphany


A CONFESSION OF SINS – “DARKNESS AND LIGHT”

by Pastor Michael Zarling and Steve Brown

PROCESSIONAL HYMN: #79 — “How Lovely Shines the Morning Star”
As the hymn is introduced, please stand and face the processional cross in the back of the church, and turn to the front as the cross passes you.  Alternatively, simply “stand” as the hymn is introduced.

Sing: How lovely shines the Morning Star! The nations see and hail afar
The light in Judah shining.
O David’s Son of Jacob’s race, My Bridegroom and my King of grace,
For you my heart is pining.
Lowly, Holy, Great and glorious, O victorious Prince of graces,
Filling all the heav’nly places.

O highest joy by mortals won, True Son of God and Mary’s Son,
The highborn King of ages!
In your blest body let me be, E’en as the branch is in the tree,
Your life my life supplying.
Sighing, Crying For the savor Of your favor
Resting never Till I rest in you forever.

Note: The singing stops here.  The music continues in the background as we begin to alternate between responsive readings and singing of the remaining hymn verses.

Minister: Grace and peace to you from him who is, and who was, and who is to come, and from the seven spirits before his throne, and from Jesus Christ, who is the faithful witness, the firstborn from the dead, and the ruler of the kings of the earth.
Congregation: To him who loves us and has freed us from our sins by his blood, and has made us to be a kingdom and priests to serve his God and Father– to him be glory and power for ever and ever! Amen. (Rev 1:4-6)

M: The people walking in darkness have seen a great light; (Is 9:2)
C: on those living in the land of the shadow of death a light has dawned.

M: See, darkness covers the earth and thick darkness is over the peoples,
C: but the Lord rises upon you and his glory appears over you. (Is 60:2)

M: The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not understood it.
C: We have seen his glory, the glory of the One and Only, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth. (Jn 1:5,14)

Sing: O mighty Father, in your Son You loved me ere you had begun
This ancient world’s foundation.
Your Son has made a friend of me, And when in spirit him I see,
I joy in tribulation.
What bliss Is this! He is living, To me giving
Life forever; Nothing me from him can sever.

M: For to us a child is born, to us a Son is given. (Is 9:6)
C: In him was life, and the life was the light of man. (Jn 1:4)

M: God of Glory, you sent Jesus among us as the light to the world, to reveal your love for all people. But wherever there is light, there will also be darkness.
C: We confess that we are sinful creatures who, either through foolishness or willful disobedience, often choose to dwell in the darkness instead of live in your light. We beg for forgiveness for starving ourselves of your Son’s life-giving light. We repent of our entrenched evil that hates the light and tries to dispose of it. We admit our apathy towards sanctification and renewal that cause us to continue to live in the night. Trusting your grace, we earnestly pray: “Create in us a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within us.” Through Christ Jesus our Savior. Amen. (Ps 51:10)

Sing: Oh, joy to know that you, my Friend, Are Lord, beginning without end,
The first and last, eternal!
And you at length — O glorious grace — Will take me to that holy place,
The home of joys supernal.
Amen, Amen! Come and meet me, Quickly greet me! With deep yearning,
Lord, I look for your returning.

M: Arise, shine, for your light has come, and the glory of the LORD rises upon you. (Is 60:1) The Light comes not to sear and blind us but to save us. Christ Jesus came into this world as an infant in a Bethlehem manger so that he might die as our Savior on a Roman cross in Jerusalem. For his sake, God forgives us all our sins. Therefore, as a called and ordained 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.
C: Amen.

M: If we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another,
C: and the blood of Jesus, his Son, purifies us from all sin. (1 Jn 1:7)

M: You are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people belonging to God, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light. (1 Pet 2:9)

Sing: Lift up the voice and strike the string, Let all glad sounds of music ring
In God’s high praises blended.
Christ will be with me all the way, Today, tomorrow, ev’ry day
Till trav’ling days are ended.
Sing out, Ring out Triumph glorious, O victorious Chosen nation;
Praise the God of your salvation.


— 
An Alternate Version Using a Contemporary Song —

A CONFESSION OF SINS – “DARKNESS AND LIGHT”

PROCESSIONAL HYMN: CWS 771 — “I Want to Walk as a Child of Light”
As the hymn is introduced, please stand and face the processional cross in the back of the church, and turn to the front as the cross passes you.

Sing: I want to walk as a child of light.
I want to follow Jesus
God set the stars to give light to the world.
The star of my life is Jesus.
In him there is no darkness at all.
The night and the day are both a-like.
The Lamb is the light of the city of God.
Shine in my heart, Lord Jesus.

Note: The singing stops here.  The music continues in the background as we begin to alternate between responsive readings and singing of the remaining hymn verses.

Minister: Grace and peace to you from him who is, and who was, and who is to come, and from the seven spirits before his throne, and from Jesus Christ, who is the faithful witness, the firstborn from the dead, and the ruler of the kings of the earth.
Congregation: To him who loves us and has freed us from our sins by his blood, and has made us to be a kingdom and priests to serve his God and Father– to him be glory and power for ever and ever! Amen. (Rev 1:4-6)

M: The people walking in darkness have seen a great light; (Is 9:2)
C: on those living in the land of the shadow of death a light has dawned.

M: See, darkness covers the earth and thick darkness is over the peoples,
C: but the Lord rises upon you and his glory appears over you. (Is 60:2)

M: The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not understood it.
C: We have seen his glory, the glory of the One and Only, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth. (Jn 1:5,14)

Sing: I want to see the brightness of God.
I want to look at Jesus.
Clear sun of righteousness shine on my path,
And show me the way to the Father.
In him there is no darkness at all.
The night and the day are both a-like.
The Lamb is the light of the city of God.
Shine in my heart, Lord Jesus.

M: For to us a child is born, to us a Son is given. (Is 9:6)
C: In him was life, and the life was the light of man. (Jn 1:4)

M: God of Glory, you sent Jesus among us as the light to the world, to reveal your love for all people. But wherever there is light, there will also be darkness.
C: We confess that we are sinful creatures who, either through foolishness or willful disobedience, often choose to dwell in the darkness instead of live in your light. We beg for forgiveness for starving ourselves of your Son’s life-giving light. We repent of our entrenched evil that hates the light and tries to dispose of it. We admit our apathy towards sanctification and renewal that cause us to continue to live in the night. Trusting your grace, we earnestly pray: “Create in us a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within us.” Through Christ Jesus our Savior. Amen. (Ps 51:10)

Sing: I’m looking for the coming of Christ.
I want to be with Jesus.
When we have run with patience the race,
We shall know the patience of Jesus.
In him there is no darkness at all.
The night and the day are both a-like.
The Lamb is the light of the city of God.
Shine in my heart, Lord Jesus.

M: Arise, shine, for your light has come, and the glory of the LORD rises upon you. (Is 60:1) The Light comes not to sear and blind us but to save us. Christ Jesus came into this world as an infant in a Bethlehem manger so that he might die as our Savior on a Roman cross in Jerusalem. For his sake, God forgives us all our sins. Therefore, as a called and ordained 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.
C: Amen.

M: If we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another,
C: and the blood of Jesus, his Son, purifies us from all sin. (1 Jn 1:7)

M: You are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people belonging to God, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light. (1 Pet 2:9)

Sing: I’m looking for the coming of Christ.
I want to be with Jesus.
When we have run with patience the race,
We shall know the patience of Jesus.
In him there is no darkness at all.
The night and the day are both a-like.
The Lamb is the light of the city of God.
Shine in my heart, Lord Jesus.

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.

CONFESSION OF SINS

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.

LORD, HAVE MERCY
Kyrie

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.