The liturgy has its roots in the Old Testament, New Testament, and the early Church. It has been adapted throughout generations, but its basic form has remained the same since the days of the Apostles. From the beginning, the liturgy has been designed to express the beauty of God and the important role of Christians in worship. We gather to worship God through song, prayer, responsive reading, reflection, and celebration of the Eucharist. The following is a brief description of each aspect of the liturgy used in our worship services.
During the opening song or hymn, a cross is carried into the sanctuary down the main aisle to symbolize the entrance of God’s people into the presence of God through Christ.
A verse of Scripture is the corporate proclamation of the primary purpose in gathering—to worship God and celebrate the coming of his Kingdom.
The songs at the beginning of the service are intended to help us proclaim the glory and majesty of God in a spirit of joy and wonder.
Prayer for Purity
“Almighty God, to whom all hearts are open…” This prayer prepares us to enter into true worship acknowledging our need for cleansing and the role of the Holy Spirit in worship.
The Collect is a prayer that “collects” the church around a central prayer, usually following the themes in the readings and sermon.
We read from the Old and New Testaments because God continues to speak to his people through all of Scripture. We read from the Gospels because the coming of Christ is the central event of our faith.
An authoritative proclamation from Scripture and applied to the context of our daily lives and culture.
The creed summarizes the Christian faith as it has been proclaimed through every generation. When we recite the creed, we affirm our unity with generation after generation of Christians through the ages.
Prayers of the People
We pray for the Church, our world, our community, and those in need. This prayer takes many forms. Each one emphasizes the participation of the whole people, silently or aloud.
The confession of sin gives us a time to reflect upon our need of mercy and grace for sins committed against God and our neighbors. At the end of the confession, the pastor proclaims forgiveness because Scripture assures us that God forgives us when we confess our sins.
Before we can appropriately celebrate the Eucharist together, we need to reaffirm that we are at peace with one another.
The offering is an act of worship by which we acknowledge our dependence upon God for the many blessings in our life. We “give back” to God the firstfruits of what He has given to us in order to demonstrate our thankfulness for his mercy and grace and to proclaim that indeed our whole lives belong to him.
The Eucharistic meal is a celebration of the past, present, and the future of God’s grace towards us. The bread and wine are taken from the earth, reminding us that all of creation is a gift from God. They are consecrated, reminding us that Jesus died for our sins and the sins of the whole world. We receive the consecrated bread and wine, reminding us that we are united with Christ by faith, and that it is by the grace of God given in Christ that we live and grow to become like Him.
As the service ends, the cross leads the recessional, reminding us that we go forth into the world to proclaim the good news of the coming kingdom of God to all of creation.