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Text Box: OUR CHURCH SERVICE

    The worship life of our congregation is centred in Christ. Christ comes to us through His Word and Sacraments to grant us many blessings. Faith, forgiveness of sins, victory over sin, death and the devil, guidance . . . are just a few of the blessings that lead us to offer up thanks and praise to our Lord!

    Our main Worship Service is held every Sunday at 10:00 a.m. Our Worship Service is liturgical, that is we follow a set order of service that contains elements that are both new and old. Parts of our service can be traced back to time of our Lord. Other parts date from the time of the early Church, still others date from later era’s of the Church including our own era! We have special services as well — please contact the office for times.

(We also offer an “early sermon” at 9:15 for our Sunday School teachers and others.)

  St. Paul speaking of public worship tells us: “... everything should be done in a fitting and orderly way.” 1 Corinthians 14:40

 

OUR ORDER OF SERVICE  by Rev. Dr. Bryan King

 

  God gathers us together I the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, the name into which we were baptized. He gathers us to receive His  gifts—Himself, His name, His flesh and blood Son,  His  Word  of  pardon  and  peace,  His  life,  His  grace  and Spirit. In the Divine Service He distributes these  gifts  to  us.  Here  we  receive  the  forgiveness  of  sins,  life,  and  salvation  Christ  won  for  us  on  the  cross.  God calls and gathers us into His holy Christian  church  where  we  have  communion  with  Him  and  all  His  saints  in  heaven  and  on  earth.  Heaven  and  earth intersect in the Divine Service.

 

The Invocation

The  beginning  of  the  service  is  marked  by  God  calling  us  together  as  He  promises:  “Where  two  or  three are gathered in My name, I will be there also.”  His name is the name in which we are baptized by  His command in Matthew 28:19-20: “Go therefore  and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them  in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the  Holy Spirit. Teaching them to observe all things  that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you  always, even to the end of the age.”

 

The Opening Hymn

The opening hymn reflects the season of the church  year,  or  the  theme  of  the  day,  highlighting  the teachings of the lessons.

 

Confession and Absolution

God  asks  us  to  confess  our  sins  and  authorizes  the  church  through  its  pastors  to  forgive  sins.  He  pronounces  the  absolution  (forgiveness)  on  behalf  of Christ who said, “’Peace to you! As the Father has  sent Me, I also send you.’ And when He had said this,  He breathed on them, and said to them, ‘Receive the  Holy  Spirit.  If  you  forgive  the  sins  of  any,  they  are  forgiven them; if you retain the sins of any, they are  retained’” (John 20:21-23).

 

The Reading of the Psalm

The Book of Psalms was the Old Testament people’s  songbook. There were tunes used in the chanting/ singing of the Psalms and these were a vital part of the  worship life of God’s people. These inspired writings  are still a valued part of our worship life today.

 

The Kyrie

Kyrie Eleison is Greek for “Lord Have Mercy.”  The Gospel of Mark records, “Now they came to  Jericho. As He went out of Jericho with His disciples  and a great multitude, blind Bartimaeus, the son of  Timaeus, sat by the road begging. And when he heard  that it was Jesus of Nazareth, he began to cry out and  say, ‘Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!’” (Mark  10:46-48). It is still fitting today for God’s needy  children to cry out to Jesus, “Lord have mercy.”

 

The Hymn of Praise

God calls us to sing and the hymn of praise is  an  opportunity  to  join  with  the  angels  and  saints  throughout the ages in singing the words they first  sang, like those expressed at Jesus’ birth—the Gloria  in  Excelsis:  “Glory  to  God  in  the  highest.  And  on  earth peace, goodwill toward men!” (Luke 2:14),  and  John  the  Baptizer’s  precious  words,  “Behold!  The  Lamb  of  God  who  takes  away  the  sins  of  the  world!” (John 1:29). Another hymn of praise, This  is  the  Feast, has  its  roots  in  the  book  of  Revelation  (5:12-13 and 19:5-9).

 

Proper's of the Day

Readings, collects, etc., are those parts of the  service that change with every service. They are  selected to correspond with the season of the church  year,  and  to  give  us  a  broad  exposure  to  the  Word  of God.

 

The Salutation and Collect of the Day

The  Salutation  is  a  reference  to  2  Timothy  4:22  where  Paul  closes  his  letter  by  saying,  “The  Lord  Jesus Christ be with your spirit. Grace be with you.  Amen.” The Collect is a short prayer meant to gather  (collect) the thoughts of the readings, and the theme  of the day into one concise short prayer.

 

The Readings

  God reveals Himself to us through His Holy Word.  So that “the whole counsel of God” can be covered as  much as possible, we follow a lectionary or reading  schedule. We read from both the Old Testament and  the New Testament.

  In the Old Testament Jesus is active, helping His  beloved people as they await His coming and in  the New Testament we learn the specifics of the  Messiah’s birth, life, death, resurrection, ascension,  and continued work among His people.

Old Testament

This section of the Bible contains 39 books which  comprise  the  Bible  Jesus  and  His  direct  followers  used.

Epistle

The word epistle is Greek for “letter” or correspondence,  so  we  are  hearing  from  a  ‘letter’  written almost two thousand years ago for the benefit of Christians, both then and now.

Alleluia and Verse

One of the Biblical references we often sing is  from  John  6:68.  Jesus  had  just  asked  His  disciples  if they wanted to leave Him as others had just done.  Peter  responds  with,  “Lord,  to  whom  shall  we  go?  You  have  the  words  of  eternal  life.”  The  Alleluias  (meaning  praise)  are  quite  fitting  as  we  prepare  to  hear  the  Gospel—the  Good  News  about  and  from  Jesus.

The Gospel

  The  Gospel  has  a  grander  introduction  than  the  other readings in our worship services, which is  quite fitting as we prepare to hear Jesus’ words.  (We  stand  out  of  respect  for  our  Lord  as  we  listen  to Him speak to us).

 

The Sermon Hymn

The sermon hymn or hymn of the day reflects  the  theme  of  the  day  and  augments  the  thought  of  the  sermon,  lessons,  and  prayers.  It  gives  us  time  to reflect on the readings as we prepare to hear  an  exposition  of  what  we  have  heard  from  God’s  Word.

 

The Sermon Text

The text is the basis of the sermon. The sermon  grows out of God’s Word, crafted with the goal of  explaining and proclaiming Jesus as the only Saviour  for this dying world. The Word of God is properly  preached when Law and Gospel are clearly spoken.

The  Law  shows  us  our  sin,  the  Gospel  shows  us  God’s  love.  The  law  tells  us  what  we  are  to  do  and  what we are not to do. The Gospel tells us what Jesus  has done for us. The law works to drive us to the  Cross for forgiveness so that we can live as forgiven  people, redeemed by Christ the crucified. That is the  heart  of  every  Christian  sermon—Christ  crucified  for a dying world.

 

The Sermon Theme

The title or theme conveys the central thought, or  idea  behind  the  sermon  and  helps  us  focus  on  that  while listening. The sermon gives the preacher the  opportunity to tie the Word of God to the everyday  lives of the people he serves. Sermons are designed  to teach, exhort, comfort, and convey the great truths  about God which we so desperately need to live  our  life  of  faith.  Paul  writes,  “So  then  faith  comes  by  hearing,  and  hearing  by  the  Word  of  God.”  A powerful sermon proclaims God’s Word.

 

The Creed

The Nicene Creed is traditionally used during communion services, the Apostles’ Creed during  other services and the Athanasian Creed is used  on Trinity Sunday as well as at other times. These  creeds are called ecumenical because all Christians  adhere to what these creeds confess.

 

The Prayers

One  of  the  greatest  privileges  we  have  as  God’s  children is approaching His throne of Grace through  prayer. We can pray at home and at worship. Prayers  are  crafted  to  reflect  the  theme  of  the  day,  specific  needs of the church, as well as the needs of the world  around us. St. Paul, writing to Timothy, encourages  us, “First of all, then, I urge that supplications,  prayers,  intercessions,  and  thanksgivings  be  made  for all people, for kings and all who are in high  positions, that we may lead a peaceful and quiet  life, godly and dignified in every way. This is good,  and  it  is  pleasing  in  the  sight  of  God  our  Saviour,  who desires all people to be saved and to come to the  knowledge of the truth” (1 Timothy 2:1-4).

 

The Offering and Offertory

One  of  the  ways  we  respond  to  God’s  love  is  to  present our offerings before Him. We give to Him out  of a thankful, renewed heart, not desiring a reward  or trying to earn His favour with our offerings, but  out of thankfulness. Following the offering we sing  an offertory, both are our responses to our Gracious  God who has blessed us with a hearing of His Word  and an explanation of that Word.

 

The Ser vice of the Sacrament

The service of the Sacrament begins with the  Preface—starting with a rendition of 2 Timothy  4:22  where  Paul  writes,  “The  Lord  Jesus  Christ  be  with your spirit. Grace be with you. Amen” finishing  his second letter to Timothy. Then we greet one  another, pastor and people, in remembrance of our  renewed  relation  in  Christ,  Who  invites  us  to  His  Precious Supper. The Proper Preface concludes the  Preface. This part of the Preface changes according  to  the  church  season  and  is  different  for  Advent,  Lent,  Christmas,  Easter,  Epiphany,  Pentecost,  etc.,  hence the title “proper” meaning it is specific to that  day  or  season  in  the  church  year,  like  the  propers  of the day.

 

The Sanctus

Sanctus  means  Holy.  God  is  Holy  as  the  Biblical  reference of Isaiah 6:3 clearly states, “And one cried  to another and said, ‘Holy, holy, holy is the Lord of  hosts:  The  whole  earth  is  full  of  His  glory!’”  This  repetition  of  ‘Holy’  combined  with  the  Hosannas from Palm Sunday (Matthew 21:9) makes a  wonderful hymn of praise

 

The Prayer of Thanksgiving

This prayer focuses our attention on what we  are about to receive, as we marvel at God’s gracious  activity toward us undeserving sinners. We give Him  our thanks in prayer.

 

The Lord’s Prayer and the  Words of Institution

Jesus has given us a wonderful prayer to use every  day. We pray this prayer either before or after the  Words of Institution realizing that Jesus has given  us a perfect prayer. The pastor then speaks the  Words of Institution, over the bread and wine. The  Word of God is powerful and effective, and hence  we believe what Jesus has said, “Take eat this is My  body” and “Take drink this is My blood.”

 

Pax Domini

The Peace of the Lord is shared. This Old Testament greeting, used by Jesus in John 20:19 after  His  resurrection  relates  to  salvation—that  is  Peace  with God, through the death of Jesus. We now have  peace with God; we are reconciled.

 

Agnus Dei

The  Agnus  Dei  (Lamb  of  God)  is  sung  because  what  we  are  about  to  receive  is  indeed  the  Lamb  of God Himself, Jesus’ body given for us, His blood  shed for us. In the Old Testament, priests sacrificed  a lamb to God to pay for the sins of His people. Jesus  sacrificed  Himself  for  our  sins  and  is  therefore  the  Lamb  of  God. The  Agnus  Dei  contains  the  words  from John 1:29, “The next day he saw Jesus coming  toward  him,  and  said,  ‘Behold,  the  Lamb  of  God,  who  takes  away  the  sin  of  the  world!’”  This  is  our  testimony also. Jesus takes away our sins.

 

The Distribution

God  also  reveals  himself  in  the  sacrament  of  the  Lord’s  Supper.  Christ’s  body  and  blood  is  in,  with  and  under  the  bread  and  wine.  The  Lord’s  Supper  is described in 1 Corinthians 11:23-32 as a most  precious medicine for the soul. Like all medicines, it  must be used at the right time for the right purpose  by the right person, or it could do more harm than  good. For this reason the congregations of Lutheran  Church–Canada practice “close” communion. We  commune those who have been properly instructed  in the faith, are able to examine themselves, and have  made  a  public  profession  of  that  same  faith.  Close  communion is a loving practice, developed to ensure  that  those  who  commune  know  exactly  what  they  are doing and why.

 

Distribution Hymns

These hymns aid us in worship while we commune. Their content often centres on the Lord’s  Supper, or may reflect the theme of the day.

 

The Post-Communion Canticle

Once again, God calls us to sing His praise for His  grace and mercy.  As with other parts of the service,  these canticles are our response to our good and  gracious  God.  They  are  prayers  set  to  music.  Since  we  have  received  Christ’s  body  and  blood  for  our salvation we sing our thanks to God. One example  is the Nunc Dimittis (Song of Simeon) which is from  Luke  2:29-32  and  is  Simeon’s  song  of  praise.  Eight  days after Jesus’ birth, Simeon was privileged to see  and hold the long-awaited Christ.

 

The Post-Communion Collect

Remember a Collect is a prayer that collects thoughts  into one brief prayer. We have options in our hymnals  for these prayers. Each prayer has a different emphasis,  but all centre on the great gift we have received  through the meal which Christ has given us.

 

The Benediction

The  Aaronic  benediction  was  to  be  pronounced  over the people of Israel—God’s people. In Numbers  6:23-26, we read “Speak to Aaron and his sons,  saying, Thus you shall bless the people of Israel:  you shall say to them, The Lord bless you and keep  you; the Lord make His face to shine upon you and  be gracious to you; the Lord lift up His countenance  upon you and give you peace.”

 

The Closing Hymn

The  Service  usually  ends  with  a  hymn,  as  God,  through  song,  reminds  us  of  His  gifts  to  us  in  the  service.  We  thank  God  for  all  He  has  done  for  us  through His Divine Service, for here He has served  us in a marvelous way. To God alone be the glory.

 

Written by Rev. Dr. Bryan King

(Lutheran Church–Canada Committee on Worship and Music)