The following Call to Worship is from the United Church of Christ. God’s strong and loving hands are outstretched to all Creation. Let the world stretch forth and grasp God’s hands with joy. God’s open hands are as the gate of righteousness. Let us enter in to God’s abundant life and give thanks. In God’s hands are new life, strength, and salvation. Let us be thankful and sing unto our God with gladness.
The following paraphrase of Psalm 118 is from my dear friend and mentor, Michael Morgan. This paraphrase of Psalm 118 (and, in fact, every psalm) can be found in his published psalter, Psalter for Christian Worship, Revised Edition. The suggested tune for this Psalm (220.127.116.11.8.8.7) is MIT FREUDEN ZART (#483 in the Blue Presbyterian Hymnal - "Sing Praise to God, Who Reigns Above"). Psalm 118 is the lectionary psalm for Easter Sunday, Year C. Give thanks unto our gracious God, Whose love endures forever; The Lord, our strength and song shall be, From whom no fault can sever. Sing mighty songs of victory, Both now and for eternity, For God will leave us never.
I shall not die, but I shall live, And sing God's grace with elation; Though I deserve no more than death, God blesses me with salvation. The gate that should unyielding be Is open wide to welcome me, Give thanks and adoration!
Upon the stones the builders judged Imperfect, weak and tender, Now rest the corners of God's house, Still unsurpassed in splendor. This is the day the Lord has made; God is my sun, and God my shade; Rejoice, and praise gladly render!
Shared with permission of Michael Morgan.
The following assurance of pardon is from the United Church of Christ. Sisters and brothers, the power of resurrection is at work in us and with us! Through the former things of our lives and in the new heaven and earth that God is yet creating, the Spirit of Christ leads us onto paths of victory over sorrow and death, disbelief and fear. Receive God’s grace in the secret place in your heart, where there are no words. For the forgiveness of God is too marvelous for words. Amen.