Written by Brian Horshaw from St John’s Lutheran Church in Phoenix, Maryland, and Brian Hehn from the Center for Congregational Song

LEADER: God, we are so grateful for the gift of worship. Thank you for the gift of the altar. While the altar was a physical place (and still is in many churches), we are assured that we can have an altar anywhere we go, as we commune with you—for Jesus is THE WAY for us to enter the Holy place.

Worship is unto you O God, and with open hands you welcome us. Thank you for the wonderful exchange that takes place during worship. The altar is a place where we hand you our sorrow in exchange for your joy.

PEOPLE: Psalm fifty-six verse eight declares that You recognize our tears and sorrow; and Psalm sixteen verse eleven declares that in your presence there is fullness of joy.

LEADER: It’s a place where we hand over our fears in exchange for your perfect love.

PEOPLE: First John four verse eighteen declares that perfect love casts out fear.

LEADER: It’s a place where we surrender our dreams in exchange for your plans.

PEOPLE: Romans eight verse twenty-eight declares that we know that all things work
together for good to them that love God, to them who are called according to his purpose.

LEADER: On the altar we lay down our sins for your forgiveness. It’s a place where we can give
you the very worst of us in exchange for your beauty. We hand you our shame for the joy of
your salvation. For we are no longer bound to the weight of sin, but we are washed clean by
your blood and made free in you.

PEOPLE: Romans eight verse one declares that there is now no condemnation for those
who are in Christ Jesus; and Second Corinthians three verse seventeen declares that where
the spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom.

LEADER: Yes God, the altar is a place of freedom.

PEOPLE: And he who the Son has made free is free indeed. Amen.