Refuge and Rock (Psalm 18)

Scripture References

Confessions and Statements of Faith References

Further Reflections on Confessions and Statements of Faith References

Easter hymns accomplish three functions: they recount the Easter narrative, proclaim our Easter hope, and celebrate our joy at Christ’s resurrection. This hymn is built on the professions of Easter truths that are expressed primarily in Heidelberg Catechism. Note especially the following:

  • Lord’s Day 17, Question and Answer 45 declares that Christ’s resurrection makes us share in Christ’s righteousness, raises us to a new life by his power, and is a sure pledge to us of our resurrection.
  • Lord’s Day 22, Question and Answer 57 comforts us to know that not only our soul but “also my very flesh will be raised by the power of God, reunited with my soul, and made like Christ’s glorious body.”
  • Lord’s Day 22, Question and Answer 58 says that it may be a comfort to know that while experiencing the beginning of eternal joy now, “after this life I will have perfect blessedness such as no eye has seen, no ear has heard, no human heart has ever imagined: a blessedness in which to praise God forever.”

In addition, Our Song of Hope, stanza 5 professes: “On the day of the resurrection, the tomb was empty; His disciples saw Him; death was defeated; new life had come. God’s purpose for the world was sealed.”


Refuge and Rock (Psalm 18)

Call to Worship

God of life,
we praise you for the miracle of Easter.
We pray for great joy for ourselves and for all who come
to worship today to celebrate Jesus’ resurrection.
We pray especially for those who will join us for worship
and whose lives are filled with pain, loss, or deep sadness.
May they sense how the resurrection is a source of great hope. Amen.
[Reformed Worship 47:39]
— Worship Sourcebook Edition Two

Joyful is the sound we make this morning!
For this day liberates us from doubt and fear.
Thankful is the song we sing!
For this day moves us past darkness and despair.
Hopeful is the prayer upon our lips!
For this day awakens in us long-awaited new life.
Jesus said, “Where two or more are gathered in my name,
I am there among them.”
Christ lives here and now.
He is among us at this and every moment!
May his peace and presence be known to you.
And also to you.
Let us greet one another with expressions of Christian love.
—based on Matthew 18:20
[Reformed Worship 58:19]
— Worship Sourcebook Edition Two


God, who is rich in mercy,
out of the great love with which he loved us
even when we were dead through our trespasses,
made us alive together with Christ—by grace you have been saved—
and raised us up with him and seated us with him
in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus,
so that in the ages to come he might show
the immeasurable riches of his grace
in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus.
—Ephesians 2:4-7, NRSV
— Worship Sourcebook Edition Two

When you were dead in trespasses,
God made you alive together with him,
when he forgave us all our trespasses,
erasing the record that stood against us with its legal demands.
He set this aside, nailing it to the cross.
He disarmed the rulers and authorities
and made a public example of them, triumphing over them in it.
—from Colossians 2:13-15, NRSV
— Worship Sourcebook Edition Two

Additional Prayers

We sing your praise, O God, for you alone are our protection and our freedom.
By the power of your Spirit, may your strength enable our strength
and your Word shape our words.
Enable us to love you, serve you, and follow you
so that our lives may proclaim the redeeming love of Jesus,
in whose name we pray. Amen.
— Psalms for All Seasons (http://www.psalmsforallseasons.org)

O Father God of the risen Christ,
in whose resurrection we find new life,
send your Spirit to dwell among us in this day of worship.
O risen Christ, Son of the Father,
may we hear your word of peace today.
O Spirit of the living God,
teach us once more to live in the power of Christ’s resurrection,
in whose name we pray. Amen.
[The Worship Sourcebook]
— Worship Sourcebook Edition Two

The following is particularly appropriate for the opening of an evening service focusing on
the Emmaus text (Luke 24:13-35).
Stay with us, Lord Jesus, for the day is almost over.
Like the disciples on the road to Emmaus,
we face times of depression, hopelessness, and fear.
Just when we think we understand your plan,
we are again baffled by an unforeseen series of events.
Dwell with us. Teach us more about you.
Feed us with your holy bread. Reveal yourself to us.
Lead us with your light and truth to such exceeding joy
that we respond in praise
and eagerly proclaim your good news.
In your holy name and in the power of your Spirit we pray. Amen.
[The Worship Sourcebook]
— Worship Sourcebook Edition Two

Lord, you have been our dwelling place throughout all generations.
From everlasting to everlasting you are God.
Speak to us now as you have spoken to us throughout the ages.
On this glorious Easter, reveal yourself and your will for our lives,
that we might live as your Easter people.
We seek your face, O Lord; hear our prayer through Jesus, our Lord. Amen.
—based on Psalm 90
[The Worship Sourcebook]
— Worship Sourcebook Edition Two

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 life,
we rejoice in the resurrection of your Son,
his defeat over death, and his gift of new life.
We praise you for the reflections of that new life
in creation . . .
in nations and governments around the world . . .
in the ministry of the church universal . . .
in our community as it . . .
in the sacrifice of those who serve . . .
in our new life in Christ . . .
To you as the giver of new life and renewed hope
we bring our prayers
for creation and its care . . .
for the nations of the world . . .
for our nation and its leaders . . .
for this community and those who are in authority . . .
for the church universal as it works on your behalf . . .
for this local church in its ministry . . .
for persons with particular needs . . .
We pray all this in your name, the Lord and giver of life. Amen.
[The Worship Sourcebook]
— Worship Sourcebook Edition Two

Risen and reigning Lord,
truly you are a high priest
who has passed through the heavens.
Truly you were tested as we are,
and yet were without sin.
With boldness we approach your throne,
deeply assured of your mercy and grace
in our time of need.
And so we pray, O Lord of glory.
Your rising and your reigning
give hope to your people.
May all who live without hope today
taste and see that you are good.
So we pray, O Lord of glory.
Your rising and your reigning call us, your people,
to testify to your goodness.
Equip each of us today
to be bold witnesses of Easter news.
So we pray, O Lord of glory.
Your rising and your reigning
call all the nations of the world
to stop their scheming and seek your peace.
May your Spirit convict all people
to submit to your rule and to pursue true peace.
So we pray, O Lord of glory.
Your rising and your reigning
call each of us to turn from the path of death
to the path of obedience and life.
Send your Spirit to strengthen our resolve,
and help us to live as people of life and light.
So we pray, O Lord of glory.
Your rising and your reigning
bring life and light and healing.
May all who suffer in the valley of the shadow of death and disease
know your healing presence.
So we pray, O Lord of glory.
Your rising and your reigning
are firstfruits of all that is to come:
justice, joy, and peace in the Holy Spirit.
May your kingdom come quickly.
So we pray, O Lord of glory.
May we, your Easter people,
never fail to bless and thank you
for your immeasurable love and sure promises.
All praise to you, risen Christ,
who with the Father and the Spirit lives
in perfect communion forever and ever. Amen.
[The Worship Sourcebook]
— Worship Sourcebook Edition Two

O Holy God, beyond our imagining and yet near to us as flesh to fingernails, we
come before you this Easter day in gratitude. We confess, O God, that we like to
think of Easter as a sunny and warm day, full of light and sweetness, redolent of all
that is fragrant in springtime. Yet no matter what the weather outside, on this day
your world remains in so many corners a dark and stormy place, sunk deep into the
cold winter of sin and evil. Those who first witnessed your Son’s resurrection found
it to be a fearful and fearsome event. For you, O great God of surprises, crashed
into our reality with something new and unexpected. But on this morning we do
not want to forget the darkness of last Friday afternoon and the way by which the
Easter victory, about which we so happily sing this day, came about. We cannot
forget the sacrifice, the bloody death, the God-forsaken pain of it all. This clash
between your kingdom and this world was fierce.
Today we do praise you for all the might, power, and creativity by which you
won the victory, Father. We praise you for raising from the dead our Lord and
Savior, Jesus Christ, the great shepherd now of all of us sheep who follow him. But
because we cannot and must not forget also the darkness of sin that even still is
around us, we make petition this morning for all people anywhere and everywhere
who continue to feel crucified by a cruel world and yet do not perceive any Easter.
We pray for refugees, for tortured prisoners, for the innocent victims of war. We
pray for abused children and battered women, for stricken families from whom
a loved one has disappeared without a trace. We pray for the homeless poor and
those victimized and diminished by racism, discrimination, and oppression of all
kinds. We pray for all those who can see no Easter light because all that is good and
lovely has been eclipsed by a depression that will not lift, by chronic pain that will
not abate, by a stretch of unemployment with no end in sight, or by a job that is
slaying the spirit day by day because the work seems so meaningless. O Lord, the
things that led Jesus to the cross have not yet disappeared from the face of the earth.
The need for resurrection remains stubbornly present in the lives of millions. Make
us, O Spirit of the living God, life-giving spirits to minister to those in need this
Easter Sunday and always.
Right here in this congregation there are also needs aplenty. So we make petition
for the widow or widower who marks this Easter for the first time without a
beloved spouse who died since last we observed this holy day. Be with anyone who
feels that he or she needs to believe in the resurrection more than ever but is finding
it more and more difficult because the absence of that dear person is too real to
deny, too total to grasp. We pray for those who are sick this day or who are worried
about a loved one who is very ill.
And be with each of us gathered for this service. Thank you for friends and
family who are our guests this morning, and grant them a special blessing by your
Spirit. We bless you, Father God, for gracing us with musicians who spend their
talents thoughtfully and well in this place so that all of us may be edified and,
through the mystery of music, be drawn closer to you. But above all we thank you
for the presence of the Spirit of the living Lord, Christ Jesus. As we encounter nothing
short of your very self here this morning, may we know for sure that we have
indeed been in your sacred presence, and may this encounter in turn embolden us
to live an Easter life not only now but also in the days to come and forevermore.
Help us to take what we experience and learn here and to allow it to set a holy tone
for us always and everywhere. We pray in the name of Jesus, the Christ. Amen.
[The Worship Sourcebook]
— Worship Sourcebook Edition Two

You, O Christ, are Lord of all creation.
You are exalted above all.
Every knee will bow,
and every tongue will confess that you are Lord!
We join with all creation
and sing of your glory: “Alleluia, Amen!”
By your death and resurrection you conquered evil.
By your Spirit sustain us in our struggle with the powers of evil.
By your resurrection you lead us from death to life.
By your Spirit unite us to you,
and help us turn away from sin
and toward life everlasting.
By your resurrection you evoked worship from astonished guards
and gave your disciples joy and peace that surpass understanding.
By your Spirit help us to live our lives
in resurrection-shaped gratitude, joy, and peace.
[After a brief silence, the leader continues the prayer:]
God of grace and glory,
whether we are weak or strong,
old or young,
struggling or flourishing,
help us to see Jesus, our risen Lord.
Give us joy in the knowledge that
your Spirit unites us with Jesus,
helps us cross over from death to life,
and strengthens us to live an Easter life
both now and forever.
We pray through Jesus Christ, our Lord,
who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit. Amen.
[The Worship Sourcebook]
— Worship Sourcebook Edition Two

Refuge and Rock (Psalm 18)

Tune Information

G Major



Refuge and Rock (Psalm 18)

Hymn Story/Background

This tune, distinguished by its use of melismas, is intended for unison singing. Dale Grotenhuis prepared the harmonization in 1984. Try assigning various stanzas to different groups, but have the entire group sing the refrain. Each stanza should also be divided in half and assigned to smaller groups. Then each group would conclude with "Sing to the Lord a new song," but the entire congregation would still sing the refrain. Some may want to sing the refrain only after the final stanza. Use strong, briskly energetic accompaniment.
— Bert Polman

Author Information

Martin Leckebusch (b. Leicester, England, 1962) was educated at Oriel College before going on to study Mathematics at Oxford and Numerical Analysis at Brunel University. He and his wife, Jane, have four daughters; their second child, a son, died in 1995. The family live in Gloucester and belong to a Baptist church.
Martin’s work in hymnody over the past twenty-five years has resulted in almost 400 hymn texts, of which around half have so far been published by Kevin Mayhew. These include the ever-popular More than Words and Songs of God’s People – books which have cemented his status as a talented and accomplished hymn writer.
Martin is keen to see the church equipped for Christian living, and believes that well-crafted and wisely-used contemporary hymns and songs have a vital role to play in that process.
— Kevin Mayhew Publishing (http://www.kevinmayhew.com/)

Composer Information

David Johnson (b. San Antonio, TX, 1922; d. Phoenix, AZ, 1987), former music department chairman at St. Olaf College, composed EARTH AND ALL STARS and published it in his Twelve Folksongs and Spirituals (1968). Johnson studied at Trinity, University, San Antonio, Texas, and received his master's and doctoral degrees in music from Syracuse University, New York. In addition to St. Olaf, he taught at Syracuse University; Alfred University, Alfred, New York; and Arizona State University. Johnson was organist at Syracuse University and organist and choir director at Trinity Episcopal Cathedral in Phoenix. His publications include Instruction Book for Beginning Organists and Organ Teacher's Guide; his compositions number over three hundred and include hymn tunes, varied harmonizations, and hymn preludes.
— Bert Polman

Dale Grotenhuis (b. Cedar Grove, WI, 1931; d. Jenison, Mi, August 17, 2012) was a member of the 1987 Psalter Hymnal 1987 Revision Committee, and was professor of music and director of choral music at Dordt College, Sioux Center, Iowa, from 1960 until he retired in 1994 to concentrate on composition. Educated at Calvin College; Michigan State University, Lansing; and Ohio State University, Columbus; he combined teaching with composition throughout his career and was a widely published composer of choral music. He also directed the Dordt choir in a large number of recordings, including many psalm arrangements found in the 1959 edition of the Psalter Hymnal.
— Bert Polman

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