Category Archives: CW 301-400

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.

How to Modernize a Hymn – Part two of a two part series

How to Modernize a Hymn – Part two of a two part series

“Praise God from Whom All Blessings Flow” by Michael Schroeder

Let’s consider the doxology put to music, “Praise God from Whom All Blessings Flow” which is hymn number 334 in “Christian Worship” (the Lutheran Hymnal).

By looking at the hymn, it’s apparent that it is written in the key of G because it has one sharp.  This already is a guitar friendly key so we are off to a good start.

Next, from the chord tables presented in yesterday’s post, we see that the typical chords in the key of G are going to be G, Am, Bm, C, D, and Em.  Very important!

Next, by looking at the notes, we identify the chords and the best places for the chord changes.  We can see from the lead sheet below that the artist, Michael Schroeder, is using a chord progression consisting of G, D, C and Em which are all in line with our expectations cited above.  We’ll discuss the slash chords and extensions later.

First, let’s look at the intro.  This is the musical hook for the new arrangement.  It’s catchy, it’s a driving beat, it sets the mood for the song, it’s memorable, it’s identifiable, in short, it’s great.  The key to the hook is the chord change from the G(no3) to the Gmaj7(no3) and the transition to the C2(no 3) and the Gmaj7(no 3) / C bass.  These are not very well known chord voicings but once you know them, they sound incredible together.  This is “jazzing up the piece” as identified in step five in yesterday’s post.

Next, let’s look at the lyrics and the structure of the song.  The first and last verse are the same as the hymn verse.  This is great because who wants to mess around with the doxology?  But Schroeder adds two new verses that are biblical and support the overall themes of praise and thanks in the hymn.  He also does a fine job of bringing out our praises to all persons of the Holy Trinity.

He has also added a chorus that does all the things mentioned in yesterday’s post.  Namely, it is lyrically a response to the verse, it is sung higher and with more energy and it is memorable.  It also uses all the major chords (tonic chords) in the key of G – G, C and D.

The structure of the song is Intro, Verse 1, Intro, Verse 2, Chorus, Verse 3, Chorus, Verse 4, Outro.  You will also note that the “hook” established in the intro is used as a musical turnaround throughout the song.  The arrangement is nicely and thoughtfully put together.

Finally, Michael Schroeder has done a stellar job of jazzing up the chords.  He’s dropped the third from the G chord converting it to a power chord (essentially a G5 chord), he’s added slash chords to highlight a bass run to go along with the chord changes in the verse, and he’s using a Dsus and a few “2” chords, like the C2 for a real contemporary sound and feel.

All in all, a very fine job.  This is what modernizing a hymn should sound like.

You can listen to a 1.5 minute sound clip of this piece here (song #10):

You can also purchase the CD from the Itunes site, or if you buy it from Michael Schroeder’s website ( ), it will also include a free bonus CD with backing tracks, chord charts, lyrics, scripture references, commentaries and power points for each of the songs included on the disc. 

Here’s my recommendations: 

If you are a Pastor who has never tried anything like this before, but you are curious, I would propose to proceed carefully as follows: 

  1. Buy the CD from because the dual disc format and the extra resources will prove to be priceless to you.
  2. Use the bonus disc with the backing track for “Praise God from Whom All Blessings Flow” and try it first with your youth or teen group if you have one.  If not, try it with your choir first.  My guess is that your people are going to love it.
  3. Have your choir or the youth group introduce it to the congregation by singing it on any given Sunday.
  4. Get a copy of the lead sheet from this website to your church musicians (pianist and a guitarist are a must for this piece).  Have them practice it until they know it well.
  5. Sing it as a congregation using either the above two-piece band or you can still use the backing track if you don’t have the musicians.
  6. You might want to have a soloist or the choir sing the choruses because the E note is quite high for the average singer.
  7. God be with you.  Email if you have any questions.

For a limited time, you can get the lead sheet by clicking on the following text:

Praise God – MSchroeder


Free Chord Chart for “Praise God from Whom All Blessings Flow”

Free Chord Chart for “Praise God from Whom All Blessings Flow”

In my prior post, I had mentioned a new version of the hymn “Praise God from Whom All Blessings Flow” arranged by Michael Schroeder.  The post also included a video of the piece.  Michael has offered a chord sheet of his arrangement to anyone interested.  You can get your free copy by either downloading the pdf file from my file download area, or by requesting a copy from me at my email address: “sjbrown58 at” and I would be happy to pass one off to you; courtesy of Michael Schroeder.  For a limited time, you can also visit Michael’s website for a copy as well (

If you missed the video, you can see it here:

Have a great “Holy Trinity” celebration this weekend and may God the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit share the glory in all that you do.