Divine Service Liturgy
The Service of Preparation
Hymn of Invocation
Our services begin the service with a hymn of invocation, in which we call on God to be with us.
In this hymn, we pray that He would come and bless us through His Word.
Matthew 28:19, Matthew 18:20, Ephesians 2:18
Just as we were identified as
belonging to God in our baptism and were marked with His name, so we
also identify and call on God by His name as we begin the Divine
Service. He has promised to be with us and bless us “whenever two or
more are gathered in My name” (Mat. 18:20).
Confession and Absolution
I John 1:8-10, Hebrews 10:22, Luke 18:13, John 20:19-23
Confession and absolution is a
reflection of the life of every Christian because we daily live in need
of forgiveness, both for things we do that are wrong and for the good
things that we neglect to do (I John 1:8-9).
Our service begins with confession
(“same saying”). We admit our guilt, saying about our sins the same
thing that God says, that we fall far short of His righteous
expectations for us.
When the pastor, as God’s
representative, proclaims God’s forgiveness by saying, “As a called and
ordained servant of the Word, I forgive you all of your sin,” he is
speaking on God’s behalf. When God uses the pastor to tell His people
that God forgives them, it is not the pastor’s forgiveness but God’s
that we receive.
The Service of the Word
Romans 16:27; Ephesians 3:21; Philippians 4:20; Revelation 1:6,8
The Service of the Word begins with
the Introit, which may be read or chanted. The Introit assembles
the worshipers and announces the theme or special message of the day.
During the Introit (“entrance”), the pastor enters the chancel area,
signifying our entrance into the presence of God.
Matthew 15:22, Mark 10:46-52, Luke 17:13
“Lord, have mercy” is a translation of the Greek
This prayer for mercy, repeated three times, has
been used in the Church for 1800 years.
This prayer illustrates our utter dependence upon God to grant our petitions.
Hymn of Praise / The Gloria in Excelsis
Luke 2:14, John 1:29
The Gloria in Excelsis, the words of
the angels announcing the birth of Christ, “Glory be to God on high, and
on earth peace, good-will toward men,” was introduced into the order of
worship in 126 A.D. Through this ancient hymn, the Church
gives praise to the triune God for sending our Lord Jesus to “take away
the sin of the world.”
Prayer of the Church
I Timothy 2:1
God gathers us together not only to serve us but to serve others though us.
Our prayers include the Holy Christian Church, our congregation, our
district, and the Synod, as well as those called to serve at those
levels; our nation and its leaders; the nations of the world; and people
in any need. We pray for peaceful times, good weather, a godly society, etc.
Ruth 2:4, Luke 1:28, II Thessalonians 3:16, II Timothy 4:22
The pastor greets you with the words
of the angel Gabriel, “The Lord be with you.” The pastor’s greeting
receives a reply, “And with your spirit,” or, “And also with you.”
This interchange confesses God’s presence with us through His Word.
Collect of the Day
The Collect /käl′ekt/ is the “collected” prayers of the people as
they apply to the theme for the day.
The readings follow a 3-year
lectionary (schedule of readings) and match the theme of the season.
At the end of the Old Testament and Epistle readings, the congregation responds
with “Thanks be to God.” During the Gospel reading, the
congregation stands, to show respect and offer praise to God for the
good news of our salvation in Christ. At the announcement of the Gospel
passage, the congregation replies, “Glory to You, O Lord.” The
response at the end of the Gospel reading is “Praise to You, O Christ.”
Hymn of the Day (HD)
The Hymn of the Day, the primary hymn
of the service, is chosen based on the theme of the day and the readings.
Although most people view a sermon as
a “how to live right” message, a Lutheran sermon is rooted in the Word
of God, presenting both Law and Gospel. After we have heard the Law,
which shows us how we have failed to live up to God’s demands and
leaves us hopeless and condemned, the Gospel is proclaimed, which tells
us of the gracious gift of salvation that God has accomplished for us
all through the death of His Son Jesus Christ.
Sermons in which the Law predominates
will either leave the congregation in despair, if they are aware of
their sin, or self-righteous, if they are not. Contrarily, if a sermon
contains only Gospel, our need of salvation is not perceived since we
are not shown our sin and helplessness before God.
A Lutheran sermon will “preach nothing
but Jesus Christ and Him crucified” (I Corinthians 1:23)
and focus on God’s good news for you.
Such sermons are not designed to make emotional appeals but to increase
our faith in Christ.
The word Creed is from the Latin word
credo, meaning “I believe.” We profess our Christian faith by
speaking together one of the three historic creeds confessed by the
Christian Church. In reciting the Creed (Apostles’, Nicene), we join
with Christians of all ages in proclaiming the basic truths of God’s Word.
The Service of the Sacrament
Offering and Offertory
I Corinthians 16:1-4; II Corinthians 8:5-7, 9:7; I Chronicles 29:1; Psalm 116:12,17,13-14,19
As the offerings are brought to the Lord’s Table, the offertory is sung in
gratitude for all God’s blessings. In the offertory the worshipers
dedicate themselves to God and request His continued blessings.
Prayer of the Church
I Timothy 2:1
This prayer may follow various forms. One common and ancient form is the “Bidding
Prayer,” which begins, “Let us pray for…,” followed by the actual
prayer, and the congregation responds, “Amen.”
II Timothy 4:22, Colossians 3:1, Psalm 136
The Preface, or introduction, begins
the Service of the Sacrament. It is an expression of the
fellowship we have at the Lord’s Table.
The Proper Preface, “It is truly good,
right, and salutary that…Therefore with angels and archangel and all the
company of heaven…,” reminds us both of why we give thanks and of our
unity with the angels and Christians throughout the ages in worshipping
God our Savior.
Sanctus and Benedictus
Isaiah 6:3, Matthew 21:9, Psalm 118:25-26, Revelation 4:8
This Communion hymn acknowledges a
reality beyond our perception—that we are in the presence of God, just
as the angels in Isaiah’s vision (Isaiah 6:3). The connection between
sanctus, “holy,” and benedictus, “blessed,” (Ps 118:26 “Blessed is He who
comes in the Name of the Lord.”) teaches us that Jesus who came to
us is God, whom the angels proclaim as thrice holy in Isaiah’s vision.
Prayer of Thanksgiving
Matthew 26:17-28, I Corinthians 11:23-26
A prayer thanking God for His mercy
and asking for renewal, deliverance, and strength as we gather to
faithfully partake of the Lord’s Table.
All of our needs are summed up in the
prayer that our Lord Jesus Christ taught us to pray.
Words of Institution
Matthew 26:26-28, Mark 14:22-24, Luke 22:19-20, I Corinthians 11:23-25
In speaking the Words of Institution,
Christ, speaking through the pastor, proclaims His promise of forgiveness
to His people. With the Words of Institution, the bread and wine are
consecrated (set apart) for this special use.
As the words “This is My Body” and
“This is My Blood” are spoken, the sign of the cross is made over the
elements. In partaking, we receive Jesus’ Body and Blood, which was given
and shed for us on the cross.
John 14:27, John 20:19-21
Following the Words of Institution,
the peace of the Lord (Pax Domini) is proclaimed to the congregation,
assuring us that we have peace through His Body and Blood. The
congregation responds either with “Amen” or “And also with you.” The
congregation shares that proclamation of Christ’s peace with each other.
John 1:29, Isaiah 53:7
In preparing to partake of the Lord’s Table, we sing the Agnus Dei,
recognizing Christ as the Lamb of God sacrificed for us.
In partaking of the Lord’s Supper, we receive the Body and Blood of Christ
in, with, and under the bread and wine.
Following Communion, we sing the Nunc Dimittis
(“Lord, now let Your servant depart in peace,” from the song of Simeon
from Luke 2:29-32).
Ps. 107:1, 118:1
This prayer gives thanks to God for the blessings given to us in the
Sacrament and concludes by asking God to lead us into our daily lives
refreshed by His gift of forgiveness.
“The Lord bless you and keep you…”
(Num. 6:24-26). The congregation responds, “Amen,” meaning, “Yes,
He will bless me….”
A closing hymn concludes the service.