Everyone is welcome to worship with us at St. John’s Lutheran Church. Many people dress for our worship services in casual clothing and in the summertime it is not unusual to have some people in shorts. Despite the attire of those gathered, the liturgy itself is formal.
Worship is like having one foot in heaven with the other here on earth. What brings heaven into our earthly worship is not dependent on the elaborateness of the service or the sincerity of our devotion. Rather, it is because of the One who is present in our worship that we experience heaven on earth.
If worship is “heaven on earth,” then what we do and say in worship should in some sense give us a glimpse of heaven. The ancient texts of the liturgy give us that glimpse and, more importantly, they deliver to us, here and now, the eternal benefits of forgiveness, life, and salvation.
Today we use the word “Liturgy” to refer to the main order of formal worship for the Christian church. It developed and evolved under the leadership of Jesus’ Apostles in the Early Apostolic Church. The actual word “Liturgy” comes from a New Testament word meaning public service. Examples of the liturgy of the early church are found in Acts 2:42, 46; 5:42; 6:2–4.
The liturgy has a balance of God’s gifts and our response. At the center are God’s gifts to us – His presence, the forgiveness of sin, and His Word (the Bible) for instruction and the building up of faith. As God comes to us, we respond to Him with praise and thanksgiving.
The Liturgy becomes a teacher that keeps worship orderly and beneficial. Worship is not a spectator sport, it requires you to participate in order to benefit from it.
In our daily lives, we keep track of our activities and special events with a calendar. The church throughout the centuries has also “kept track” of days and seasons and commemorating special occasions with a calendar.
The Church Year takes us through the life of Christ on a yearly basis. The Church Year is based on those signs and works of Jesus from all of the Gospels, but it extends beyond the Gospels as well.
In Advent, we begin the Church Year by looking for the coming of Jesus foretold in the Old Testament, as well as by looking for His second coming. As we move through Christmas, Epiphany, Lent, and Easter, we follow the life of Christ recorded in the Gospels.
Pentecost tells the story recorded in Acts, while the long season of Trinity is a time in which we hear about the miracles of Christ. Before we know it, we are hearing about the end times before beginning everything over again with Advent. The seasons of the church year are marked by certain liturgical colors.
The Lord’s Supper is celebrated at this congregation in the confession and glad confidence that, as He says, our Lord gives into our mouths not only bread and wine but His very body and blood to eat and to drink for the forgiveness of sins and to strengthen our union with Him and with one another.
Our Lord invites to His table those who trust His words, repent of all sin, and set aside any refusal to forgive and love as He forgives and loves us, that they may show forth His death until He comes.
Because those who eat and drink our Lord’s body and blood unworthily do so to their great harm and because Holy Communion is a confession of the faith which is confessed at this altar, any who are not yet instructed, in doubt or who hold a confession differing from that of this congregation and The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod, and yet desire to receive the Sacrament, are asked first to speak with the pastor or an usher.