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How Clear Is Our Vocation, Lord

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Scripture References

Confessions and Statements of Faith References

Further Reflections on Confessions and Statements of Faith References

To be sure, baptism provides the assurance “that God, by grace, has forgiven our sins because of Christ’s blood poured out for us in his sacrifice on the cross” (Heidelberg Catechism, Lord’s Day 26, Question and Answer 70). But it also involves the calling that “more and more we become dead to sin and live holy and blameless lives” (Heidelberg Catechism, Lord’s Day 26, 
Question and Answer 70).


“Christ places baptism in the world as a seal of God’s covenant people, placing them in ministry” (Our Song of Hope, stanza 18). Consequently, “The Spirit calls all members to embrace God’s mission” (Our World Belong to God, paragraph 41). Our vocation is broad because Christ is Lord over all: “To follow this Lord is to serve him wherever we are without fitting in, light in darkness, salt in a spoiling world” (Our World Belongs to God, paragraph 43). Our identity thus determines our vocation.


How Clear Is Our Vocation, Lord

Call to Worship

God of life,
thank you for each person you have placed in this congregation
and for the gifts you have given them.
We pray that everyone here—
rich and poor, men and women, young and old—
will find effective ways to use their gifts for the common good.
May our worship today encourage and challenge
all who come to know and use the gifts
you have them given for your purposes in this world.
Through Christ we pray. Amen.
— Worship Sourcebook Edition Two

Additional Prayers

A Prayer of Confession
You have made our vocation clear, O Lord. You call us to do justice, to love kindness, and to walk humbly with you. We confess to you that our vocational record is at best spotty. We have become indifferent to corruption. We fritter away valuable time on questionable amusements. We gamble with money that could have blessed the poor. Cleanse, forgive, and redirect us, O God. Make us want to do what’s right and then empower us to do it in Jesus’ name. Amen.
— Cornelius Plantinga, Jr.

Loving and faithful God,
we bless you for calling us to be a holy people,
living for you in service to each other for the sake of your world.
We pray that our congregation will experience
a rich and free sharing of the gifts you have generously given us.
Knowing that we are called to be saints,
we humbly ask that you will work powerfully through us
to accomplish your purposes in the world.
We pray for the courage, the patience, and the generosity of spirit
that comes from imitating the love you have shown us in Christ.
We long for your Spirit’s power to make us more Christlike
in our thoughts, words, and deeds.
Help us to think of others and their needs even now as we pray for
creation, in its groaning . . .
the world, in its suffering . . .
our nation and city, in their need of healing . . .
We pray in the name of Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith,
who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit,
one God, now and forever. Amen.
— Worship Sourcebook Edition Two

How Clear Is Our Vocation, Lord

Tune Information

E♭ Major



How Clear Is Our Vocation, Lord

Hymn Story/Background

This text was written in 1981 combining two separate requests to Fred Pratt Green. Russell Schultz Widmar, then at the United Methodist Church in Austin, Texas, had requested a hymn text on vocation, and Eric Routley had asked if Fred could provide a new texty to sing to the tune REPTON. The tune REPTON was composed in 1888 for “Long Since in Egypt’s Plenteous Land” in Hubert Parry’s oratorio Judith and became associated with the hymn “Dear Lord and Father of Mankind.” But Erik Routley thought the match of text and tune was not strong, since the final line for each stanza needed to be repeated to fill out the melody. Hence, his request to his friend Fred Pratt Green for a new text. The result was this hymn that was first published in Rejoice in the Lord (1985), for which Erik Routley served as editor. 
— Bert Polman

Author Information

Already in the 1970s Erik Routley considered Fred Pratt Green (b. Roby, Liverpool, Lancashire, England, 1903-2000) to be the most important British hymn writer since Charles Wesley, and most commentators regard Green as the leader of the British "hymn explosion." Green was educated at Didsbury Theological College, Manchester, England, and in 1928 began forty years of ministry in the Methodist Church, serving churches mainly in the Yorkshire and London areas. A playwright and poet, he published his works in numerous periodicals, His poetry was also published collectively in three volumes, including The Skating Parson (1963) and The Old Couple (1976). Though he had written a few hymns earlier, Green started writing prolifically after 1966, when he joined a committee to prepare the Methodist hymnal supplement Hymns and Songs (1969) and was asked to submit hymn texts for subjects that were not well represented. His hymn texts, numbering over three hundred, have appeared in most recent hymnals and supplements and have been collected in 26 Hymns (1971), The Hymns and Ballads of Fred Pratt Green (1982), and Later Hymns and Ballads (1989). In 1982 Green was honored as a Fellow of the Hymn Society in the United States and Canada.
— Bert Polman

Composer Information

Charles Hubert Hastings Parry (b. Bournemouth, England, 1848; d. Rustington, Sussex, England, 1918) was a major force in the revival of music in England in the late nineteenth century. He received an excellent musical education at Eton College and Exeter College, Oxford. Because his father did not want him to assume a musical career, he worked for Lloyd's Register of Shipping for three years. But ultimately his interest in music prevailed: he taught music at the Royal College of Music from 1883 to 1918 and at Oxford University from 1900 to 1918. Parry composed chamber music, piano and choral pieces, and English songs and symphonies. A cofounder of the Oxford University Music Club, he contributed articles to Grove's Dictionary of Music and Musicians and published The Art of Music (1893), Style in Musical Art (1911), and a biography of J. S. Bach (1909). A number of his hymn tunes were published in Hymns Ancient and Modern (1904).
— Bert Polman
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