Great God, Your Love Has Called Us (ELW 358)
1 Great God, your love has called us here,
as we, by love, for love were made.
Your living likeness still we bear,
though marred, dishonored, disobeyed.
We come, with all our heart and mind
your call to hear, your love to find.
2 We come with self-inflicted pains
of broken trust and chosen wrong,
half-free, half-bound by inner chains,
by social forces swept along,
by pow’rs and systems close confined,
yet seeking hope for humankind.
3 Great God, in Christ you call our name
and then receive us as your own,
not through some merit, right, or claim,
but by your gracious love alone.
We strain to glimpse your mercy seat
and find you kneeling at our feet.
4 Then take the towel, and break the bread,
and humble us, and call us friends.
Suffer and serve till all are fed,
and show how grandly love intends
to work till all creation sings,
to fill all worlds, to crown all things.
5 Great God, in Christ you set us free
your life to live, your joy to share.
Give us your Spirit’s liberty
to turn from guilt and dull despair,
and offer all that faith can do
while love is making all things new.
This hymn provides a kind of handbook to guide our reflection about life lived from the perspective of end times and the end of life. Verses 1 and 2 affirm the basic conviction that we live always as children of God, created in God’s image, created for loving with all our heart, and mind, and strength. But we do so also with the confession that we come into God’s presence with pains and broken trust, in bondage so often to wrongs of our own choosing, but also powers and systems seemingly beyond our control. And yet we come in hope.
Verses 3-5 then confirm the basis for that hope. God in Christ still calls us by name and through gracious love invites us to participate in the work of the healing of all creation. Until the end we have been set free to turn from guilt and despair and by the Spirit’s power to share in the joy of making all things new.
O God of Grace, you continue to call each of us by name and empower us with your love in Christ. We give thanks that you have invited us to share in those works of love which inspire hope and the promise of your continuing to make all things new. Amen.