Great God, Your Love Has Called Us

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Scripture References

Further Reflections on Scripture References

See Ephesians 1:3-14 for God’s call through Christ, and see John 10:1-30 to hear of Christ as the Shepherd who calls us by name.


Great God, Your Love Has Called Us

Call to Worship

Let us worship God,
who reconciled us to himself through Christ.
We are new creations;
the old has gone, the new has come!
Let us worship God as Christ’s ambassadors.
Through us and through our worship
may we announce the good news to all.
Let us worship God in spirit and in truth.
Praise God! We are reconciled, redeemed, renewed!
—based on John 4:24; 2 Corinthians 5:17-21
[Reformed Worship 34:19]
— Worship Sourcebook Edition Two

God of love,
as we prepare to remember the events of this poignant night,
open our eyes to see the beauty of Jesus’ self-giving love,
and by your Spirit work in our community a desire and commitment
to serve each other and our hurting world.
In Jesus’ name, Amen.
[The Worship Sourcebook]
— Worship Sourcebook Edition Two

Lord God,
we gather in this place
not because we are deserving of your love
and not because we have lived faithfully before your face.
We gather here because you have called us.
You loved us before we could love you.
You have given your Son for our salvation.
For this we join all creation
in blessing you, praising you, thanking you.
Holy, holy, holy, Lord God Almighty!
You are great, and greatly to be praised.
As we offer our praise,
we long for you to mold us in the image of your Son,
whose death and resurrection give us hope.
Through the power of the Holy Spirit. Amen.
[The Worship Sourcebook]
— Worship Sourcebook Edition Two

What shall we return to the Lord
for all his bounty to us?
We will lift up the cup of salvation
and call on the name of the Lord;
we will pay our vows to the Lord
in the presence of all his people.
—from Psalm 116:12-14, NRSV
— Worship Sourcebook Edition Two


Christ shows his self-giving love by washing his disciples’ feet.
Surely we do not live up to Christ’s example.
We confess now our sin and our need of a Savior.
[The Worship Sourcebook]
— Worship Sourcebook Edition Two

Loving Lord,
you taught us compassion.
You took a servant’s role and knelt at the feet of your friends.
You gave us a meal to remind us of your life-giving love.
You called us to love one another too.
Forgive us, Lord, for not practicing the compassion you modeled.
Forgive us, Lord, for wanting to be served rather than to serve.
Forgive us, Lord, for not loving as you called us to love. Amen.
 [The Worship Sourcebook]
— Worship Sourcebook Edition Two

God of mercy, whose Son, Jesus Christ,
longs to gather us in the wide embrace of his love,
we confess that we have been wayward children.
We have disobeyed your commands;
our ears have been deaf to your call;
our hearts have been cold to your love.
In thought, in word, and in deed
we have hurt others and dishonored your name.
In your great mercy receive us yet again as your well-beloved children,
not because we are worthy but for the sake of him
who loved us and gave himself for us. Amen.
[John Paarlberg in Reformed Worship 34:6]
— Worship Sourcebook Edition Two


Hear the teaching of Christ:
A new commandment I give to you:
Love one another.
As I have loved you, so you must love one another.
The peace of Christ be with you all.
And also with you.
—based on John 13:34
— Worship Sourcebook Edition Two

God of love, truly we see your glory in the face of Jesus Christ,
who offered himself in humble service to his disciples
even on the night he was betrayed.
Truly you shine in our hearts
when we show your love to others
in Christlike acts of service and fellowship.
We leave this place eager to reflect the glory of Christ,
our source of hope and life, our Teacher and Lord,
who laid down his life so that we might live. Amen.
[The Worship Sourcebook]
— Worship Sourcebook Edition Two

O Jesus, our ever-living Teacher, Friend, and Master:
we have heard your new command to love one another;
we have seen your example of how to serve humbly—you, their leader and Lord,
bent down to wash your disciples’ feet;
we have received bread and wine, signs of your presence and power within us.
By your Spirit, prompt us now, we pray,
to do as you command, to imitate your willingness to serve,
and to live as your children, fed and nourished for the journey by Jesus, our Lord.
Draw us closer and closer, our Savior, to your cross.
Help us to ponder with wonder your great sacrifice.
Move our hearts to love you more and more. Amen.
[The Worship Sourcebook]
— Worship Sourcebook Edition Two

Additional Prayers

The following is a guide for extemporaneous prayers. The pattern provides a suggested text
for the opening and closing of each part of the prayer and calls for extemporaneous prayers of
thanksgiving, petition, and intercession.
God of love,
it is because of your immense love for us that
you stooped to be our servant and willingly suffered to give us life.
For that love we give you thanks.
We also praise you for the way that love is evidenced
in creation . . .
in our community . . .
in our church . . .
in our lives . . .
in the events of this Holy Week . . .
God of love,
you have given us a new command to love each other.
Help us to show that love
in our care of creation . . .
to the nations of the world . . .
to our nation and its leaders . . .
in this community . . .
through the church universal . . .
through this local church in its ministry . . .
to persons with particular needs . . .
In all our thoughts and actions
may we be your servants and reflect your love.
We pray this in the name of your servant Son, Jesus Christ,
who lives and reigns with you forever. Amen.
[The Worship Sourcebook]
— Worship Sourcebook Edition Two

Great God, Your Love Has Called Us

Tune Information

D Major

Great God, Your Love Has Called Us

Hymn Story/Background

This hymn, based on the account of Jesus washing the feet of his disciples, is an early example of a hymn from the pen of Brian Wren, at the time a minister in the United Reformed Church (URC). He became an important member of a group mentored by Erik Routly, also a pastor in the URC, who sparked a revival of new English hymn writing in the 1960s and 1970’s. Meeting in Dunblane, Scotland, the group was eager to address the relationship of classic hymnody to contemporary society. Wren actually wrote this text to fit one of Routley’s tunes, ABBINGTON, composed for Wesley’s text “And Can It Be.” 
— Emily Brink

Author Information

Brian Wren (b. 1936) is English by birth, American by choice, Reformed by Tradition, Presbyterian by membership, United Methodist by marriage and Emeritus Professor of Worship, Columbia Theological Seminary, Decatur, Georgia. He is a writer, preacher, worship leader and designer, and internationally published hymn-poet, with entries in most recent denominational hymnals in North America, Britain and Australia. Some of his hymn poems have been translated into Finnish, French, Japanese, Mandarin, Spanish and Korean.

Brian holds undergraduate and doctoral degrees from Oxford University. He is a Minister of the United Reformed Church (UK). His publications include Education for Justice (1979), What Language Shall I Borrow? - God-Talk in Worship: A Male Response to Feminist Theology (1989- reissued 2009), Piece Together Praise - A Theological Journey: Poems and Collected Hymns Thematically Arranged (1996), Praying Twice: The Music and Words of Congregational Song (2000), Advent, Christmas and Epiphany: Liturgies and Prayers for Public Worship (2008), Hymns for Today (2009) and many hymn collections totaling 250 hymns, the most recent being In God Rejoice (2012). He is a Fellow of the Hymn Society in the United States and Canada. Most of his hymns are published through Hope Publishing Company (USA) and Stainer & Bell (UK) 
— Amazon (http://www.amazon.com/Brian-A.-Wren/e/B001IQW922])

Composer Information

Alfred Fedak (b. 1953), is a well-known organist, composer, and Minister of Music at Westminster Presbyterian Church on Capitol Hill in Albany, New York. He graduated from Hope College in 1975 with degrees in organ performance and music history. He obtained a Master’s degree in organ performance from Montclair State University, and has also studied at Westminster Choir College, Eastman School of Music, the Institute for European Studies in Vienna, and at the first Cambridge Choral Studies Seminar at Clare College, Cambridge.
As a composer, he has over 200 choral and organ works in print, and has three published anthologies of his work (Selah Publishing). In 1995, he was named a Visiting Fellow in Church Music at Episcopal Seminary of the Soutwest in Austin, Texas. He is also a Fellow of the American Guild of Organists, and was awarded the AGO’s prestigious S. Lewis Elmer Award. Fedak is a Life Member of the Hymn Society, and writes for The American Organist, The Hymn, Reformed Worship, and Music and Worship. He was a member of the Presbyterian Committee on Congregational Song that prepared Glory to God, the 2013 hymnal of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.)
— Selah Publishing Co. (http://www.selahpub.com/)

Norman Cocker (b. Yorkshire, England, 1889; d. 1953) was born in Yorkshire and went on to become a chorister at Magdelene College, Oxford. He progressed to the Organ Scholarship at Merton College, Oxford but never completed his degree. He was appointed Assistant Organist at Manchester Cathedral in 1920 and later held appointments in various churches and cinemas in the city. 
— Naxos Bio (http://www.naxos.com/person/Norman_Cocker/27122.htm)

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