Songs for Worship

Sing joyfully to the LORD, you righteous; it is fitting for the upright to praise him.  Praise the LORD with the harp; make music to him on the ten-stringed lyre. Sing to him a new song; play skillfully, and shout for joy.

Psalm 33:1-3 (NIV)





This song is written to be used in a service which includes a time for confession and forgiveness.  It provides for an invitation to self-reflection and repentance, an appeal to God for forgiveness, a declaration of forgiveness, as well as rejoicing in the forgiveness given.

There are four distinct parts to this song as it flows from confession to absolution to rejoicing.

1. Silent Confession.  Note the long introduction on the recording.  This could be a time when the worship leader or pastor invites the congregation to reflect on their need for God's forgiveness.

2. Sung Confession.  This is the first two verses, chorus and bridge before the absolution.  We first sing our confession to God, acknowledging our sin and our sinfulness.  We appeal to God for his mercy in light of the cross and resurrection.  The bridge speaks of forgiveness as a return to baptism, and evokes the image of the returning prodigal (Luke 15:11-32).  It also speaks of the feast referred to in the parable, but also the feast which is worship, culminating in the Lord's Supper.

3. Spoken Absolution.  The declaration of forgiveness in Christ's name for His sake.  In keeping with John 20:23, we speak with the authority of Christ in declaring His forgiveness .  This spoken part is actually the high point of the song, the answer to the prayer of the confession.  Through His word, spoken in the absolution, God is granting forgiveness as we worship.

4. Rejoicing in Forgiveness.  Now the words of the bridge and the chorus are changed.  No longer an appeal for forgiveness and mercy, but now a declaration and rejoicing in the forgiveness and mercy given through the Word in the Absolution.  The Lord has had mercy on us.

I wrote this song while reflecting on James Waddell's excellent book "The Struggle to Reclaim the Liturgy in the Lutheran Church," and his description of the catechetical role of worship.  So I intentionally set out to write a song which emphasizes what the Word teaches about Law and Gospel, Confession and Forgiveness, as well as the power of the Word to give what it describes.

The recording includes Susan Sange on vocals, Steve Jeffery on acoustic guitar, and James Regan on electric guitar.

Bible Verses 

Daniel 9:4-19, Luke 15:11-32, John 20:23, Acts 2:38, Acts 22:16, 1 John 1:9


Repentance, Baptism, Cross of Christ, Forgiveness, Liturgical, Salvation, Worship



Verse 1
I confess to You, O Lord
That I have sinned.
I confess to You, O Lord
All my sin within. 
I have failed to live for You
In the things I say and do
And have fallen short of living in Your love.

Chorus 1
Lord, have mercy on me
Lord, have mercy
Set me free
O forgive me, Lord, I pray
And take my sin away
By the cross and empty grave
For my soul.

Verse 2
I confess to You, O Lord
That I have sinned.
I confess to You, O Lord
All my sin within.
I have placed myself above
And have hurt the ones I love
And I know that only You can set me free.

Bridge 1
Take us back to the water
Wash away our sins
Welcome us, O Father
Back to Your home again.
Bless Your sons and daughters
And let the feast begin.
Let it begin.

Absolution (these or similar words): 
The Lord has had mercy on you and has sent His Son Jesus Christ as the atoning sacrifice for your sins.  By his Word and Promise I declare to you the forgiveness of all of your sins in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. You are forgiven. You are set free.

Bridge 2
You take us back to the water.
You wash away our sins.
You welcome us, O Father,
Back to Your home again.
You bless Your sons and daughters.
Now let the feast begin.
Let it begin

Chorus 2
Lord, your mercy covers me.
Lord, Your mercy has set me free.
You've forgiven me today
And my sins are washed away
By the cross and empty grave
For my soul.







Lyrics (doc)

Lyrics (pdf)


Lead Sheet


Accomp Track


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