What’s Your Sunday Service Like?
Everything we do in our worship service occurs within the context of the Divine Service (“Service of God”), in which the primary emphasis is what God does to serve us, and secondarily, our service rendered to God. Our services have various parts, including the confession of sins, the reading and preaching of the Word, and the sacrament. Each part “delivers the goods” of the Gospel and the forgiveness of sins, which reflects the central teaching of all of Scripture: that God has declared us justified on the basis of what Jesus has done for us.
The Divine Service is liturgical, which means that it follows a set order each week (making it easier to follow with every attendance). The service focuses on God’s Word and Sacraments because they are the only means in which God has promised to offer us the forgiveness of sins and eternal life.
The Divine Service is nothing new, but it isn’t outdated either. The service order we gladly use now is the product of 2,000 years worth of development in the Christian Church.
In our liturgy, you’ll find these 5 major “songs” which form a framework around Word & Sacrament:
- Kyrie Eleison (“Lord, Have Mercy”) – Sung after the Confession of Sins where we ask God to be merciful to us because of our sins. Our plea for mercy also asks God to be merciful to us in all of life.
- Gloria in Excelsis (“Glory to God in the Highest”) – From Luke 2:14, the song of the Angels heralding the coming of the newborn Christ. We sing it to herald Christ’s coming in Word and Sacrament.
- Credo (“I Believe”) – A creed is a confession of the individual’s faith. So, on the basis of God’s Word, we say what we believe. Yet, we do not say our own individual creed, but rather join our voices in confessing the Church’s creed, that which it has confessed throughout the world and throughout the ages.
- Sanctus & Benedictus qui venit (“Holy, Holy, Holy” & “Blessed is He…”) – We sing Holy, Holy, Holy, the song of the angels from Isaiah 6 who touched Isaiah’s lips with a coal from the altar which purged Isaiah of his sins, only we sing it before receiving Christ’s own body and blood from the altar which purges us of our sins. Then, we join in proclaiming “Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord, Hosannah (“save us now”) in the highest!” (Matthew 21:9), the song which welcomed Jesus into Jerusalem on Palm Sunday as He was traveling on to die on the cross for our sins. We too ask God to “save us now.”
- Agnus Dei (“Lamb of God”) – John the Baptist proclaimed that Jesus was the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world (John 1:29). Jesus, the Lamb, was slain on the altar of the cross for us. We sing this song before receiving Jesus’ body and blood shed for us in the Lord’s Supper.
God, through St. Paul explains the blessings of Holy Communion: that it brings the forgiveness, life, and salvation which Jesus won on the cross to sinful people. But Paul also warns of the dangers of eating and drinking the Lord’s Body and Blood unworthily. We practice “closed communion” in order to protect anyone from receiving the Body and Blood unworthily. The Bible teaches us that we are unworthy to receive this Sacrament not only if we don’t believe in Him and His forgiveness (Matthew 10:32-33), but also if we don’t recognize the presence of the Lord’s Body and Blood in, with, and under the bread and wine (1 Cor. 11:26-29 and Acts 2:42); if we aren’t repentant of our sins (Matthew 6:14-15); or if we hold to different confessions or beliefs (Romans 16:17-18). We ask that only those who are members of our church body and who have examined themselves come forward to the altar. If you wish to commune here, we’d love to make that happen; please speak to pastor.