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From Sin to Trust

Worshipping with Psalm 130

As our worship committee planned a service around Psalm 130, we were reminded that this is a Psalm of ascents, sung by the people of Israel as they approached the temple to worship. The psalmist begins in the depths of sin, moves to trusting in God as the One who forgives, and concludes with a communal call to trust in God. Wanting to remain true to the text, we planned our service as a journey moving from sin to trust. This momentum helped us all to acknowledge our need for a Savior and to go forward, confidently trusting in the Lord’s compassion.

To establish the momentum and tie the service together, we used a refrain taken from Psalms 116 and 130 throughout the service, from “the depths” to redemption in God alone. This reinforced the idea that the psalm moves us along on a journey from confession to trust.

The service was ordered around five “steps” that were tied to the psalm. Each followed a similar pattern:

  • a reader read the relevant verse from the psalm
  • the congregation responded with song
  • we offered our worship in prayer, offering, and sermon
  • we sang the refrain.

We began with the “approach,” entering God’s presence in our worship. From there we moved into recognizing our sin, humbly acknowledging that our sinful nature renders us unfit for God’s presence. Next we were reminded of God’s mercy, cleansing us from sin, making us fit for worship in Christ. The central part of the service, including the sermon, reminded us why we have hope and forgiveness. This point served as the fulcrum, moving us beyond our sin to living each day with hope and trust in God. The service concluded by sending us out into the world, calling one another—and the world—to place our trust in God.

We Approach God

Prelude: “Variations on Maldwyn” by Raymond Haan

We Greet One Another

Welcome

Call to Worship
Where does your help come from?
Our help comes from the Lord, the Maker of heaven and earth.

God’s Greeting

Song of Approach: “The Steadfast Love of the Lord” CH 576, SNC 242

“Out of the depths I cry to you” (Psalm 130:1-2)

Reading
Out of the depths I cry to you, O Lord;
O Lord, hear my voice.
Let your ears be attentive to my cry for mercy.

Song: “Out of the Depths I Cry to You” PsH 256

Bidding Prayer

Refrain
Out of the depths I cried to God.
Lord, hear my voice; O hear my call.
I love the Lord; he heard my cry.
(SNC 226, modified)

“With you there is forgiveness” (Psalm 130:3-4)

Reading
If you, O LORD, kept a record of sins, O Lord, who could stand?
But with you there is forgiveness; therefore you are feared.

Hymn of Response: “Remember Not, O God” PsH 254, TH 488

Call to Obedience

Refrain
Out of the depths I cried to God.
Lord, hear my voice; O hear my call.
I love the Lord; he heard my cry.

“I wait for the Lord . . . and in his word I put my hope” (Psalm 130:5-6)

Prayer for Understanding

Scripture reading: Psalm 130
The word of the Lord.
Thanks be to God.

Children’s Message
Children: The Lord be with you.
All: And also with you.

Children’s Song: “Be Still and Know” CH 585, SFL 225, SWM 1, WR 450

Sermon: “When Life’s the Pits”

Hymn of Response “What Wondrous
Love Is This” CH 314, PH 85, PsH 379, SFL 169, TH 261, WR 257

Prayer of Application

Refrain
I love the Lord; he heard my cry.
I wait for God; in him I hope.
Redemption comes from God alone.

“Put your hope in the Lord . . . He will redeem Israel” (Psalm 130:7-8)

Reading
O Israel, put your hope in the LORD,
for with the LORD is unfailing love and with him is full redemption.
He himself will redeem Israel from all their sins.

Congregational Prayer

Offering

Offertory: “Jesus, Lover of My Soul” CH 710, PH 303, PsH 578, TH 508,509, WR 439

Congregational Reading
Out of the depths I cry to you, O LORD; O Lord, hear my voice.
Let your ears be attentive to my cry for mercy.
If you, O LORD, kept a record of sins, O Lord, who could stand?
But with you there is forgiveness; therefore you are feared.
I wait for the LORD, my soul waits, and in his word I put my hope.
My soul waits for the Lord more than watchmen wait for the morning, more than watchmen wait for the morning.
O Israel, put your hope in the LORD,
for with the LORD is unfailing love and with him is full redemption.
He himself will redeem Israel from all their sins.

God’s Parting Blessing

Closing Song: “Out of the Depths I Cry to You” PsH 256

Postlude: “Great Is Thy Faithfulness” CH 139, PH 276, PsH 556, SWM 194, TH 32, WR 72

Excerpt

Service Notes

  • We printed all the responsive readings and the refrain in the order of service so the service could proceed unannounced. The pastor introduced the service and instructed the congregation to follow the order of worship so the service could flow smoothly from one element to the next.
  • Following the welcome, the pastor explained that Psalm 130 is a psalm of ascents—it was written for a journey into the presence of God. This helped the congregation to understand the format of the service, and it allowed us to begin the service without being confronted immediately with the “sin” element of the service.
  • We concluded our service by speaking the words of Psalm 130 as a congregation. Having heard the hope that we find “rest” in God’s forgiveness, we came together and vocalized our affirmation of hope.
  • The prelude “Variations on Maldwyn” is from Welsh Hymn Tune Preludes for Organ by Raymond Haan. MALDWYN is the tune used with Psalm 22 “My God! O My God! Have You Left Me Alone” (Psalter Hymnal 22).
  • The short refrain is from Sing! A New Creation, 226. We sang the phrase three times for each refrain. If your congregation doesn’t feel comfortable ending on the third, you could modify the last two measures to end on a C.