Our worship service is patterned after the early church practices. In this service it isn't about what you do for God, but instead, what He does for us. In the Divine Service, God comes down to us in the reading, preaching, and proclamation of His Word and His Sacraments of Holy Baptism and Holy Communion.
The Divine Service begins with the Preparation by singing an Opening Hymn and the lighting of the altar candles. This is followed by Confession and Absolution, where preparation is made to receive Holy Communion. We take time to confess our sins (1 John 1:8-9) and then the Lord declares His forgiveness through the mouth of the pastor in the Absolution (John 20:22-23).
The next portion of the service is the Service of the Word. The Introit is a collection of passages from the Psalms that may be sung or spoken by the congregation followed by the Kyrie, first congregational prayer. The people cry out for mercy to Jesus Christ for our in our troubles and needs (Matthew 20:31). The Hymn of Praise follows. This may either be the "Gloria in Excelsis" or "This is the Feast" depending on the season. "Gloria in Excelsis" is the celebration of Christ's coming used throughout the year (Luke 2:14) while "This is the Feast" is the Easter hymn or used for a variety of festivals (Revelation 5:9-13, 19:4-9). During the Prayer of the Day, the Salutation and Collect are spoken. The Salutation is a greeting between the pastor and congregation (2 Timothy 4:22). The Collect is a short prayer that incorporates the Gospel message of the day and changes weekly. We then take time to Greeting and Welcome one another. This is a time of expressing God's peace to those around us and taking time to make all know they are welcome. Then next portion of the service consists of the Scripture readings all focused on the same message. The Old Testament Reading is first with prophetic proclamation of the coming Messiah. The Second Reading is the Epistle. This reading demonstrates how God accomplishes what He says in His Word. Before the reading of the Gospel, the congregation sings the Alleluia and Verse (John 6:68). The Holy Gospel is then read that tell us the words and deeds of Jesus (Romans 10:17). The Hymn of the Day is sung following the Gospel. Usually this hymn focuses on the theme of the Gospel (Psalm 98:1). Next is the Message for Today that is based on one of the scripture readings for the day (1 Corinthians 1:18). This sermon is the proclamation of God's judgement and grace. During this time, we are shown how we fall short of living by God's law but by repentance God forgives our sins. Following the sermon, the congregation proclaims their faith through one of the three Creeds. The Apostle's Creed, Nicene Creed, and Athanasian Creed are all expressions of the faith of the historical Church throughout the ages and world (Romans 10:9-10). The Prayers of God's People is a time pray for the needs of the Church, congregation, world, and any special concerns (1Timothy 2:1-4). The people respond to each petition by responding with either "hear our prayer" or "Lord, have mercy". The Offering of Our Gifts is when the people offer their gifts to God. Here a portion of the treasure God has givien to us is offered back to Him. It is followed by the Offertory which is sung as the gifts are presented and the altar is prepared for Holy Communion (Psalm 116:12-13, 17-19).
The Service of the Sacrament was instituted by Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of sins by partaking of His body and blood through the forms of bread and wine for those instructed in the faith. It begins with the Preface with responses by the congregation. It is followed by the singing of the Sanctus, the angelic hymn (Isaiah 6:3, Matthew 21:9). The Prayer of Thanksgiving is then offered to praise God for the gift of Jesus and to stregthen and prepare the people. The Words of Our Lord are spoken by the pastor to consecrate the bread and wine (1 Corinthians 11:26). The Lord's Prayer is the spoken by the congregation (Matthew 6:9-13). After the congragation's prayer, the Agnus Dei is sung to acknowledge Jesus as the Lamb of God (John 1:29). Those who are instructed in the faith then come forward for the Distribution of Holy Communion. You may see some kneel, some make the sign of the cross, or some stand in reverence. At the close of Holy Communion, the Post Communion Canticle is sung as the pastor closes and covers the elements (Luke 2:29-32). There is then a prayer of gratefulness offered and a petition to stregthen our faith. The Benediction is a blessing following the prayer (Numbers 6:22-27). The Closing Hymn is the final portion of the service. The altar candles are extinguished and the pastor may process out. At the end of the hymn, the congregation may fellowship or depart in peace to serve the Lord.