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Worship Service: Psalm 8

This service of Psalm 8, Who Are You? Who Are We?, was part of the Calvin Symposium on Worship 2012. The music was led by Isaac Wardell, liturgy by Aminah Bradford, and preaching by Mark Labberton.

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Legal notice: This audio content is for personal, online use only.
It may not be downloaded nor used commercially or for public viewing.


Gathering for Worship 

Song – Sweet Hour of Prayer
Words: William W. Walford, Public Domain
Music (SWEET HOUR William B. Bradbury, Public Domain

Welcome and Greetings

Song – Let All Who Are Thirsty Come

Words and Music: Taizé Community © 2011 Les Presses de Taizé, France, GIA Publications, Inc.

Psalm of Adoration – Psalm 8


Lord our Lord, how majestic is your name in all the earth!
You have set your glory above the heavens.
Through the praise of children and infants
you have established a stronghold against your enemies,
to silence the foe and the avenger. 

 When I consider your heavens, the work of your fingers,
the moon and the stars which you have set in place;
what are mere mortals that you are mindful of them,
human beings that you care for them?

You have made them a little lower than the heavenly beings
and crowned them with glory and honor.
You made them rulers over the works of your hands;
you have put all things under their feet:
all flocks and herds, and the animals of the wild,
the birds in the sky, and the fish in the sea,
all that swim the paths of the seas.


Lord, our Lord, how majestic is your name in all the earth!

Hymn of Adoration – All Creatures of Our God and King
Words: Francis of Assisi, 1225; tr. William H. Draper, c. 1910, alt., Public Domain
Music (LASST UNS ERFREUEN with alleluias): Auserlesen Catholische Geistlich Kirchengesäng, Cologne, 1623; adapt. and harm. Ralph Vaughan Williams, 1906, Public Domain

Prayer of Confession

Creator God,
we confess that sometimes we do not live like daughters and sons of an almighty King.            
We are a busy people, a forgetful people, a simple people,
and so we must confess that we have failed to consider the work of your fingers,
the moon and the stars, even this  crisp January day.
We have failed in so many ways.

As created ones we forget that we are not like you.
We cannot grasp what kind of a God can use the weakest means-
even from the mouths of babies and infants--to disarm your enemies.       
We cannot grasp that kind of God,
for we can hardly grasp ourselves.

We think of ourselves as both more and less than we are—
more important and less glorious.
We live more like consumers and less like stewards.
We speak in terms of rights, but not of blessing.
Instead of being humbled by your care,
we live like we are entitled to it.

You made us with purpose to tend the works of your hands.
But flocks and herds and people the world over are forfeited in the name of profit,
for the comfort of some at the expense of others.
We humbly repent.

 And yet you consider us, and your gaze causes us to blush,
so much so that we think of ourselves as lesser creatures  than you have made us to be.
We confess there are days we feel more like worms than human beings.

We are grateful that we can then turn our eyes to your Son Jesus,
the one in whom all things are being made new,
the one who even now is at work reconciling us to you,
to each other, to the land, and to ourselves.
All of this through the cross. 

Kyrie Eleison
Words and Music: Isaac Wardell © 2008 New Jerusalem Music.

Assurance of Pardon

I waited patiently for the LORD; and he turned to me and heard my cry.
He lifted me out of the pit; and he set my feet on a rock.
He put a new song in my mouth, a song of praise to our God.
Many will see and fear and put their trust in the LORD.
(Psalm 40:1-3)

Because of his great love for us, even when we were dead in our sins,
God made us alive together with Christ. By grace, we have been saved.
(Ephesians 2:4-5)

Hymn of Thanksgiving – Man of Sorrows, What a Name
Words and Music (HALLELUJAH! WHAT A SAVIOR Philip P. Bliss, 1875, alt., Public Domain

Prayer of Supplication (from a poem by Mark Scandrette, based on Luke 8, 1 John 3:1-9, Rev. 21:5)

Heavenly Father, you have taught us that your Kingdom is like a seed planted deep within us, growing in our hearts to bring greater wholeness and healing—making all things new. But from where we sit sometimes all we can see is the dirt where your promises lie buried. We can see the dark clouds overhead; we can see the earth that is dry with loneliness, with apathy, and with the suffering of your children aching for your Kingdom that cannot come soon enough.

Abba, Father, your Kingdom come.

Lord Jesus, help us to believe your Word—that we are the agents in which your promises come to life. And so together we groan in frustration as we await the green shoots and ripe fruits of your Kingdom. Let them become as real on earth as they are in heaven. 

Lord Jesus, your Kingdom come.

Holy Spirit, awaken our imaginations to see your work here on earth that is more real than the fears and doubts we may feel. Give us courage to name and enjoy all the gifts the earth reveals to us. Lead us to places where our hands and our words can mend coming of our Lord. Finish the work you began before the creation of our world.

Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, your Kingdom come.

Proclamation of the Word

Sung Prayer for Illumination – Holy Spirit, Come to Us
Words and Music: Jacques Berthier © 1991 Les Presses de Taizé, admin. GIA Publications, Inc.

Romans 8:18-28

Psalm 8 – O Lord, Our Lord, Throughout the Earth
Psalms for All Seasons 8D

Sermon – “Paying Attention”

A time of silence

Response of Trust and Commitment

Psalm 62 – In Silence, My Soul Thirsts for God                                               
Psalms for All Seasons 62A

Confession of Faith (from Our World Belongs to God, articles 1 and 2) 

As followers of Jesus Christ, living in this world—
which some seek to control, and others view with despair—
we declare with joy and trust:
Our world belongs to God!
God is King: Let the earth be glad!
Christ is victor: his rule has begun!
The Spirit is at work: creation is renewed!
Hallelujah! Praise the Lord!

Song – Soon and Very Soon
Words: Andraé Crouch © 1971 Bud John Songs, Inc./Crouch Music, admin. EMI Christian Music Publishing.

Parting Blessing


Program Notes

Mark Labberton, preacher

Aminah Bradford, liturgist

Isaac Wardell and friends from Bifrost Arts, together with several Calvin College student musicians

Psalm of Adoration: HOLY BIBLE, TODAY’S NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION® TNIV® Copyright © 2001, 2005 by Biblica®. All rights reserved worldwide.