Category Archives: Hymns

Worship Spontaneity


What do you think about this statement:

In one service I attended, their printed program read concerning the Order of Service – “subject to the Holy Spirit”.

Here’s another one:

We get so locked into our agenda, that if the Holy Spirit wanted to do something different, it would ruin our whole “worship” service!

This line of thinking is totally foreign to my cauliflower-like Lutheran ears. My reaction to statements like these is that the Holy Spirit was already involved in the planning that went into the worship service in the first place and is thankfully present in worship whether we leave room for Him or not. As a general rule, I would have to say that I am not a fan of planned worship spontaneity. Call me a dinosaur, a hymn crank, a stand-up sit-down, an intrepid, a liturgical lemon; that’s me. There is enough spontaneity in our services without having to leave room for it, it just happens naturally.

“God Himself is present, Let us now adore Him, and with awe appear before Him.
God is in His temple, all within keep silence, humbly kneel in deepest reverence.
He alone, on His throne, is our God and Savior, praise His name forever!”
– Gerhard Tersteegen

Steadfast Believers


Steadfast Believers
by Steve Brown and Mike Westendorf

A few weeks back, Mike posted an article on FaceBook from a Pastor who was quitting the praise band for a variety of reasons. This article was ultimately met with a rebuttal from another Pastor who won’t be quitting the praise band anytime soon for a different bunch of reasons. In between these posts was a plethora of worship gold voiced by believers.

The following excerpts from the FaceBook comments show a fraction of the beautiful faith that exists within our fellowship as a result of the work of the Holy Spirit in and among us.

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“We make a big mistake when we try to limit the Holy Spirit to our way of thinking.” – PB

Isaiah 55:8-9 “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,” declares the Lord. “As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.

“Just because it’s contemporary doesn’t make it bad, shallow, or irreverent.” – SB

Psalm 40:3 He put a new song in my mouth, a hymn of praise to our God. Many will see and fear the Lord and put their trust in him.

“In reality, everything we humans bring before God in worship is a filthy rag and only made pleasing by the blood of Jesus!” – SB

Isaiah 64:6 All of us have become like one who is unclean, and all our righteous acts are like filthy rags; we all shrivel up like a leaf, and like the wind our sins sweep us away. 

“I leave those services (contemporary worship) humming many of those songs all week.” – SA

Jeremiah 15:16 When your words came, I ate them; they were my joy and my heart’s delight, for I bear your name, Lord God Almighty.

“I believe the Holy Spirit worked in my heart through this (contemporary) music to strengthen my faith, it has completely changed me!” – PE

2 Corinthians 3:18 And we all, who with unveiled faces contemplate the Lord’s glory, are being transformed into his image with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit.

“If you disqualify all Christian radio, you are doing what the devil wants you to do. He wins!” – PE

Ephesians 6:11 Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. 

“In the last ten years… the way I worship Jesus has changed. I don’t just worship Him on Sunday or for ten minutes a day. I try to worship Him in everything I do. That includes the type of music I listen to and sing and play.” – DRS

1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.

“I believe that the Lord has given us this music (contemporary) to reach those people who may not be able to connect with traditional four part harmonies and hymns.” – DRS

“Music is a method of communication and we need to be able to speak everyone’s language. If it’s an organ for you, great, but what about an electric guitar roaring like the mighty power of God?” – SA

1 Corinthians 9:19-23 Though I am free and belong to no one, I have made myself a slave to everyone, to win as many as possible. To the Jews I became like a Jew, to win the Jews. To those under the law I became like one under the law though I myself am not under the law, so as to win those under the law. To those not having the law I became like one not having the law though I am not free from God’s law but am under Christ’s law, so as to win those not having the law. To the weak I became weak, to win the weak. I have become all things to all people so that by all possible means I might save some. I do all this for the sake of the gospel that I may share in its blessings.

“I would still rather listen to a Contemporary Christian radio station singing about Jesus even it’s not perfect then a pop station that plays music about stuff that goes against everything I believe.” – DRS

“But for God, worship is a matter of the heart not a matter of form.” – SB

Ephesians 5:19 speaking to one another with psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit. Sing and make music from your heart to the Lord.

“We should have services that you can bring a friend to that’s never gone to church and they should feel comfortable and be able to connect with the service. Musically speaking a language that they’re familiar with helps a lot.” – SA

“It was contemporary Christian music that the Holy Spirit used to bring me to faith, and gave me the desire to go to church in the first place.” – SB

“I guess I would say… a feeling of fullness with the Holy Spirit.” – RP

Acts 13:52 And the disciples were filled with joy and with the Holy Spirit.

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Steve’s Conclusions: So you might be wondering, why do these people, that place a value on contemporary Christian music; worship in a traditional, liturgical, confessional and hymn-loving setting? The answer is quite simple. We are in agreement with the doctrines and biblical interpretations of this denomination. This is where God wants us to be. We are one body and we commune with one another in unity. Our fellowship is defined by our biblical beliefs based on the absolute inerrancy of scripture. The Gospel is the glue that binds us together and we realize that musical style should not even make the list of fellowship discriminators.

In essence, these responses do show that contemporary music connects on a heart-felt level with some people in the same way that hymns do with other people and this involvement of our hearts is crucial for our worship. The big issue is that there needs to be a Christian relationship based on love that understands and accepts the need for these stylistic differences because the adherence to scripture and doctrine can be maintained, and in the end our objective is to share God’s words in whatever methods that works best.

Yes, we differ in things like musical taste in the same way as we do in our choice of clothes, but this is just part of being the diverse body of Christ that God intended us to be. In the end, we may not be steadfast Lutherans, but more importantly, our hope is to be steadfast but humble believers and followers of Christ.

Simply stated, “Christ’s Love is Our Calling!”

Mike’s Conclusions: As I read the comments of the two viewpoints from the original pastoral blog posts and the responses that we see from many people, it continues to reinforce the idea of effective “communication” and “language” within our worship settings. A simple way to define worship in our settings is that “God comes to us (word and sacrament) and His people respond to Him (praise) and one another about Him (proclamation)”. Another thought about worship is that we are to love the Lord our God with all our heart, soul, mind and strength. Regardless of what your worship preference is, “the mountaintop”, the best ever worship experiences will always include all four of these elements. Lastly is the idea that communication is much more than the words we say, but it also is the way we say them as well as what people see when words are said and what the overall “environment” says within the context of those words.

When I read these comments and the scripture passages that Steve beautifully related, it continues to reinforce the notion that people receive the communication of God’s Word and the stories of His faithfulness differently. When they respond to God, they long to have the words and melodies that allow them to praise and proclaim Christ that involves the heart, soul, mind and strength. We want to communicate back to God and back to others about our God who has been faithful to us and to me personally.

Because we are varied people, we speak different languages in worship and certain styles and environments of singing, songwriting, and yes – even listening, engage people differently in worship. If we truly desire that people hear God as He comes to us with the fullness of the Gospel message, and if we truly desire and hope that people can and joyfully respond to God through praise and proclamation, then we must realize the beauty that contemporary worship can offer, especially when it is birthed out of the biblical understanding of Jesus that we joyfully preach in the Confessional Lutheran church with songs that have a powerful effect similar to the way as traditional hymns do.

God paints in beautiful colors, I love it when our worship includes the languages, environments and communication styles of traditional, blended, contemporary and modern worship settings married to our understanding of the true Gospel message.

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1 Corinthians 12:15-20 Now if the foot should say, “Because I am not a hand, I do not belong to the body,” it would not for that reason stop being part of the body. And if the ear should say, “Because I am not an eye, I do not belong to the body,” it would not for that reason stop being part of the body. If the whole body were an eye, where would the sense of hearing be? If the whole body were an ear, where would the sense of smell be? But in fact God has placed the parts in the body, every one of them, just as he wanted them to be. If they were all one part, where would the body be? As it is, there are many parts, but one body.

The Sound of Silence


The Sounds of Silence

With God’s almighty power, your prayers can change the world!”

I love to pray in church, during worship, especially when there is a moment offered for silent personal prayers. Can’t you just feel the strength of hundreds of like-minded worshippers praying silently in a room which is otherwise soaring with sound as we sing together, read together and confess our faith together? This is a special time of peace to just sit and soak in the very presence of God and to speak with Him.

Have you ever wondered if God can hear our silent prayers? Consider the following scripture:

Search me, God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. – Psalm 139:23


But when you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father, who is unseen. The Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you. – Matthew 6:6


pray continually – 1 Thessalonians 5:17

We need to grasp this moment of silent mediation as we each pray in this quietude because God is present in a very special way and He is intently listening. Pray for your church, pray for your pastor, pray for a hurting friend, pray for yourself, pray to express your thankfulness, pray from your heart – just take this time and pray. Don’t let this opportunity slip by!

Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective. – James 5:16

How awesome is that? We confess our sins to God and to each other in worship, then later we are given a chance to privately pray; perhaps to heal a friend.

This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us. And if we know that he hears us—whatever we ask—we know that we have what we asked of him. – 1 John 5:14-15

God is a major force in the affairs of this world and prayer is our opportunity to talk to him and to draw on that power for our benefit. Just the smallest whisper of a prayer spoken in faith will move God on your behalf.

Before they call, I will answer; while they are still speaking I will hear. – Isaiah 65:24

Let’s close with the lyrics to a beautiful hymn about “prayer” written by the author of the hymn Amazing Grace.”

Come, My Soul, with Every Care (CW409)
Text by John Newton (the writer of Amazing Grace)

Come, my soul with every care;
Jesus loves to answer prayer.
He himself bids you to pray,
And will never turn away.

You are coming to a king,
Large petitions with you bring.
For his grace and power are such,
None can ever ask too much.

With my burden I begin:
Lord, remove this load of sin;
Let your blood, for sinners spilt,
Set my conscience free from guilt.

Lord, your rest to me impart;
Take possession of my heart.
There your blood-bought right maintain
And without a rival reign.

While I am a pilgrim here,
Let your love my spirit cheer.
As my guide, my guard, my friend,
Lead me to my journey’s end.

Show me what I am to do;
Every hour my strength renew.
Let me live a life of faith;
Let me die your people’s death.

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.

O Come, O Come Emmanuel – Sung Responsively with Alternating Scripture


O Come, O Come Emmanuel – Sung Responsively with Alternating Scripture

M: Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign: The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and will call him Immanuel. – Isaiah 7:14 

Congregation Sings: O come, O come, Emmanuel,
And ransom captive Israel,
That mourns in lonely exile here
Until the Son of God appear.

Refrain: Rejoice! Rejoice!
Emmanuel shall come to thee, O Israel.

M: On the morning of the third day there was thunder and lightning, with a thick cloud over the mountain, and a very loud trumpet blast. Everyone in the camp trembled. – Exodus 19:16 

Congregation Sings: O come, O come, thou Lord of might, 
Who to thy tribes, on Sinai’s height,
In ancient times didst give the law
In cloud and majesty and awe.
Refrain

M: A shoot will come up from the stump of Jesse; from his roots a Branch will bear fruit. In that day the Root of Jesse will stand as a banner for the peoples; the nations will rally to him, and his resting place will be glorious. – Isaiah 11:1, 10
C: “I, Jesus, have sent my angel to give you this testimony for the churches. I am the Root and the Offspring of David, and the bright Morning Star.” – Revelation 22:16

Congregation Sings: O come, Thou Rod of Jesse, free
Thine own from Satan’s tyranny;
From depths of hell Thy people save,
And give them victory over the grave.
Refrain

M: “I see him, but not now; I behold him, but not near. A star will come out of Jacob; a scepter will rise out of Israel. – Numbers 24:17a
C: “I, Jesus, have sent my angel to give you this testimony for the churches. I am the Root and the Offspring of David, and the bright Morning Star.” – Revelation 22:16

Congregation Sings: O come, Thou Day-spring, from on high,
And cheer us by thy drawing nigh;
Disperse the gloomy clouds of night,
And death’s dark shadows put to flight.
Refrain

M: I will place on his shoulder the key to the house of David; what he opens no one can shut, and what he shuts no one can open. – Isaiah 22:22 
C: “To the angel of the church in Philadelphia write:These are the words of him who is holy and true, who holds the key of David. What he opens no one can shut, and what he shuts no one can open. – Revelation 3:7

Congregation Sings: O come, Thou Key of David, come,
And open wide our heavenly home;
Make safe the way that leads on high,
And close the path to misery.
Refrain

M: All this also comes from the Lord Almighty,whose plan is wonderful,whose wisdom is magnificent. – Isaiah 28:29
 
Congregation Sings: O come, Thou Wisdom from on high,
Who orderest all things mightily;
To us the path of knowledge show,
And teach us in her ways to go.
Refrain

M: I will shake all nations, and what is desired by all nations will come, and I will fill this house with glory,’ says the Lord Almighty. – Haggai 2:7
 
Congregation Sings: O come, Desire of nations, bind
In one the hearts of all mankind;
Bid Thou our sad divisions cease,
And be Thyself our King of Peace.
Refrain

Summer Psalm for July 13, 2014 – Pentecost 5


Summer Psalm for July 13, 2014 – Pentecost 5
Based on Psalm 31 (selected verses)

Song Choices: 
1. “My Life is in You Lord” by Daniel Gardner (Songbook BOB #165)
2. “Be My Home” by Douglas Norquist (Songbook BOB #19)
3. “I Lift My Hands” by Chris Tomlin and Matt Maher

Level of Difficulty:
The entire congregation can sing the first two songs.  “I Lift my Hands” is best suited for the worship team or praise band.

You Tube:
1. My life is in You Lord (this song has a lot of repetition which can be eliminated if you’d like):

2. Be My Home:
NoYoutube Available

3. I Lift My Hands:

Rationale for the Song Choice:
1. “My life is in You Lord” captures the heart of the psalm writer. We are to put our trust in the Lord.
2. “Be My Home” is based on Psalm 31 verses 1-3
3. “I Lift My Hands” is based on Psalm 31 verses 1-3

Suggested Format:

Musicians play either the chorus or the verse softly in the background  during the responsive readings

M: In you, Lord, I have taken refuge;
C: let me never be put to shame;
M: deliver me in your righteousness.
C: Turn your ear to me,
M: come quickly to my rescue;
C: be my rock of refuge, a strong fortress to save me. 

Congregation Sings the song through once (Songs 1 or 2)
– or –
Worship Team sings verse 1 and the chorus of song 3

M: Since you are my rock and my fortress, for the sake of your name lead and guide me. 
C: Keep me free from the trap that is set for me, for you are my refuge. 
M: I will be glad and rejoice in your love, for you saw my affliction and knew the anguish of my soul. 
C: You have not given me into the hands of the enemy but have set my feet in a spacious place. 
M: Be strong and take heart,
C: all you who hope in the Lord.

Congregation Sings the song through once (Songs 1 or 2)
– or –
Worship Team sings verse 2 and the chorus of song 3

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.