Word of Welcome

Word of Welcome

In this holy place we gather, claimed through grace by God above;
Heaven’s wings now wrap around us, downy depths of boundless love.
Freed from fears that keep us hidden, for the work that You desire.
Reconciling as we’re bidden, hearts aflame with joyful fire.

Earth in all her verdant beauty sings Your joy made manifest;
Winged and finned and scaled and limbed life; fruitful frenzy, quiet rest.
Rushing wind and roiling waters, green of forest, blue of sky,
Dark of night and dawn of morning, all give praise to You on high.

As by imprint nature offers witness to Your gracious care
So in freedom’s faith we follow after Christ if we but dare.
Rushing wind of Spirit able, blowing from the most to least
From the font and for table, born again and bid to feast.

Word of welcome walk among us, watching as these wineskins burst
Breaking bread and pouring wine for all who hunger, all who thirst.
* Through this time that we’re together, may Your presence here abide
Joy of life and Love of justice, be our Wisdom and our Guide.

* alternate line for use as a sending hymn:
Now as we go forth to scatter, may Your presence yet abide

Text: David R. Weiss, b. 1959 (text, 2003, © 2008 David R. Weiss)
Tune: Ludwig van Beethoven, 1770-1827, Ninth Symphony, 4th Movement adapt. HYMN TO JOY (Lutheran Book of Worship #551 – public domain)

Permission is given to photocopy Word of Welcome for use in worship.

Author’s Note: Word of Welcome uses the tune for “Joyful, Joyful we adore thee.” This almost universally recognizable tune was originally written by Beethoven for a poem, “Ode to Joy” by Friedrich Schiller. My text borrows imagery both from Schiller’s poem and from the Bible.

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