Worship and Gatherings
Worship with Communion
with a liturgical format and contemporary elements, every Sunday morning at 9:00 am.
Join Us for Christian Education!
Faith Ladies Guild (LWML) meets for fellowship and Bible study the first and third Thursdays of each month, 9:30 – 11:00am, learning from studies that are published in each issue of the “LWML Quarterly” magazine. Rotating hostesses provide refreshments.
Elijah – Women’s Bible Study meets for fellowship and Bible study every second and fourth Wednesday of each month at 6:00pm.
Men’s Bible Breakfast meets every Tuesday at 7:00am for a time of study, fellowship, and breakfast before the work day begins. Come, and leave whenever you need to in order to get to work on time. Invite a friend, neighbor, or co-worker!
Home Group Bible studies at various locations and times. Contact the church office for more details!
“But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses…”
– Acts 1: 8 NIV
Elements of Worship
In the beginning, the earliest Christians were either Jews or God-fearing Gentiles who worshiped in the synagogue; therefore, early worship followed the pattern of the synagogue, which it still does in some churches today.
What does “Liturgy” mean?
The word “liturgy” comes from a Greek word meaning work of the people. In other words, worship is something you do, not something you watch.
The word “liturgy” has several different meanings in common use. For some, a liturgy is a pre-planned worship service with all the parts written out. Orthodox Christians, however, use the word liturgy to refer to the Eucharistic part of the service, so if a Baptists tells an Orthodox Christian, “We have a non-liturgical worship service,” the Orthodox Christian might go away thinking that Baptists never have communion. Technically, however, if you have a printed bulletin or a set order of worship of any type, it is a “liturgy.” The only Christians who have truly non-liturgical worship are the Quakers (they sit in silence and wait to see if anyone says anything, and it is possible for a complete Sunday service to pass in silence).
Eastern liturgy has not changed much for the last thousand years. The service is elaborate and the clergy and the choir perform it in the presence of the congregation. The role of the congregation is in many cases limited to standing in awe and adoration.
Western liturgy has always been characterized by simplicity. Over the centuries, the west was dominated by only two or three liturgical styles, which gradually conformed themselves to Roman practice. During the Protestant Reformation, the liturgy was reformed to expand the role of the congregation and to make communion more frequent.
A traditional Christian worship service may consist of two parts:
The Synaxis (The Service of the Word)
The first part is modeled on the liturgy of the synagogue, and in ancient times as in the present, it is public. Synaxis comes from the same Greek word as synagogue; it means gathering together. This part of the service consists of prayers, Scripture readings, psalms, hymns, and the sermon. Because it is centered on the Word of God, it is often called the Service of the Word.
The Eucharist (The Service of Communion)
The second part of the service is the Communion service; In ancient times it was called the Eucharist, the Greek word for thanksgiving. It consists of hymns and scripture readings and the sharing of the bread and wine — the body and blood of Christ. Originally, this part of the service was secret; only baptized Christians could attend or participate. However, overheard acclamations (“this is my body, take, eat”) led pagans to conclude that cannibalism and other untoward things were going on, which led to violent persecutions. As a result, this part of the service is also open to the public.
Making the Sign of the Cross
Over the centuries the practice of making the Sign of the Cross fell into disuse among many Lutherans, but Martin Luther advises in the Catechism that we make the Sign of the Cross first thing in the morning. This practice is an excellent reminder of who we are: baptized children of God who have been redeemed by Christ the crucified.
Why we make the Sign of the Cross:
Making the Sign of the Cross expresses in an outward manner our inner beliefs about the centrality of the cross. The cross is, of course, where Jesus died to pay the penalty for our sins. Making the Sign of the Cross is a witness of our faith. Many Christians wear crosses, or dove or fish lapel pins as a witness to others. Making the Sign of the Cross is similar. Making the Sign of the Cross is a reminder to us. Making the Sign of the Cross, or using any of the historical outward gestures, rescues us when words fail us or when we’re mentally tired.
How to Make the Sign of the Cross.
The oldest tradition is to hold together the thumb and first two fingers (three being the number of the Holy Trinity). First touch the forehead lightly, then move down to the middle of the chest. Then touch the right shoulder and then the left shoulder. In the Western tradition, the left shoulder is touched first and then the right. Either tradition is fine.
When to Make the Sign of the Cross
There are no legalistic requirements as to when (or even if) a person should make the Sign of the Cross. If a person wishes to, the most common times might be:
At the beginning of the liturgy (order of worship)
At any time the Trinity is invoked (“In the Name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit”)
At the end of the recitation of a Creed (Apostles’, Nicene, or Athanasian)
When absolution is bestowed after confession of sin (this reminds us we’re forgiven not because God lowered the standards nor because we can earn forgiveness, but because Christ died on the cross)
When the Gospel is announced (to mean, “May God be in my thinking, my speaking, my feeling, and my choosing, especially in light of the Scriptural instruction I’m about to hear”)
At the end of the Sanctus (when the celebrant says, “Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord”)
Before/after receiving Holy Communion
When ever a blessing is bestowed
No one must use the Sign of the Cross nor should one look down on those doing it. Done to the glory of God, however, it can be a great source of blessing: to God, to others (as a witness), and to ourselves.