Our Service Follows a Traditional Liturgy
PROCESSION- We begin our service with a procession or parade which sends a message that the worship is special and worthy of extra attention. The acolyte (candle lighter) reminds us of the "light" of Christ coming to us through God's Word.
INVOCATION- We begin by asking God to be present, we invoke His name and anticipate all that we do between now and the Benediction will be pleasing to Him, and we will be blessed to praise and hear of the love of His Son Jesus.
CONFESSION OF SINS- This is the lowest point of our worship both spirituality and emotionally. Throughout the Old and New Testaments God's people acknowledged that God is God, and while He is perfect, they were not. Like them, we tell God that we know we are sinners and ask for His forgiveness. From this point of the Worship Service our activities rise in a sense of joy and hope in Christ Jesus.
ABSOLUTION- While any Christian can announce the forgiveness of sin's won by Jesus on the Cross, as a congregation we call on our Pastor to assure us that we are forgiven. We hear God's words of assurance that we are absolved of sins through the voice of the man who occupies the office of public ministry for each of us.
INTROIT- A reading from the Psalms. Can be read responsively (as was done in the temple of Jerusalem in Salomon's time) or chanted as the early Christians did in the catacombs of Rome (because the echoes distorted speech, but not chants).
KYRIE- Literally means "Lord have Mercy," our corporate prayer for God's blessing on His people and His church.
GRADUAL- Originally called the "Responsoriom Graduale" because it reflects our rising joy at the prospect of hearing the Epistle and Gospel readings. It is usually a verse taken from the psalms, and changes during the seasons of the church year.
EPISTLE READING- Was introduced to Christian worship in the language of the people by Martin Luther. It is from a time when the average person couldn't read. The church continues the practice today which will result in a nearly complete hearing of the New Testament every three years.
HOLY GOSPEL- At every gathering for corporate worship, Lutherans read a portion of Scripture concerning the birth, life, teachings, death, resurrection and ascension of Jesus Christ. In three years of faithful attendance, a parishioner will hear all the significant accounts of our Savior recorded in the Bible. This is considered the most important part of our worship service.
SERMON HYMN- Selected by the Pastor to relate directly to the theme or teaching of the sermon that is to follow. Throughout the history of the church, this hymn was chosen for its word content rather than the appeal of its musical tune.
SERMON- Pastors in the Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod are trained in our seminaries to ensure that the message you hear is always in accordance with the teachings of Jesus. The Pastor is pledged to tell us not only about our sins and our failures, but also of the love of God in Christ Jesus. By the power of the Holy Spirit, God forgives us, gives renewal, and empowers us to lead a better life in His sight. He wants us to learn from His law, repent and take new hope in the sacrifice of Jesus on the Cross, use His law as a guide for our walk of faith, and rest in the assurance of our situation through faith alone in Christ Jesus.
OFFERING- This is not an appeal for money because the church belongs to God as does everything in the universe. Therefore, God doesn't "need" our money. However, we "need" the opportunity to respond to the love of God and share in the work of our Savior. It is the desire of this congregation that every cent presented to our Lord's work be given in love from a cheerful heart!
OFFERTORY- The offertory is the vocal or instrumental setting of the offertory sentences or hymn sung by the congregation and choir while the offering collection is being presented at the altar.
PRAYERS OF THE CHURCH- A time where we as a congregation acknowledge God's goodness, confess our needs, bring our public thanksgiving and present our requests for specific help to our Heavenly Father. ("For where two or three come together in my name, there am I with them." Matt. 18-20)
LORD'S PRAYER- Taught by Jesus in Matthew's Gospel. We do as Jesus taught!
BENEDICTION- Marking the close of worship, the Benediction conveys the blessings of the Truine God to the people. The Benediction has marked the end of liturgical worship since the temple of Jerusalem, through the synagogues of the days of Jesus, right up to the current age.
OTHER MATTERS OF INTEREST:
MUSIC IN THE CHURCH- The hymns at each service are usually selected for their connection with the message or Scripture readings of the day.
PULPIT- While in the center in some churches, it is moved to the side in the Lutheran Church so that the altar of God and the Cross of Christ will always be the central focus of worship.
CHOIR- Traditionally sings from the rear or side of the church so that their voices serve God, and the members themselves do not become the object of attention. (All glory, praise and honor go to God.)
CLERGY DRESS- Lutheran Pastors wear the white "alb" or robe of the style of early church of Rome. The Stole around the neck is reminiscent of the Roman style of identifying a person's job. Sometimes Pastors wear a black cassock (robe) covered by a white surplus "gown" in the tradition of the church of the 1800's.
ACOLYTES- Traditionally, Acolytes have been used to start the beginning processional of worship. Acolytes usually are chosen among the youth of the church (ages 9-18) and trained by the Elders or Altar Guild. Acolytes may light the altar candles, carry the Cross or the Bible to be placed at the altar. They are usually dressed in a white blouse and black skirt.