Let Us Worship and Bow Down
The Gospel – the finished work of Jesus Christ – lies at the heart of all we celebrate each Sunday as we come into the presence of God, for it is only through the sacrifice of Jesus Christ that we have been mercifully granted access to the throne of grace. And so it is fitting that we should pattern our order of worship after the Gospel. In so doing, we self-consciously act out in our liturgy the plan of God's redeeming work for us.
We begin by responding to the call of God and enter His presence with joyous singing. As a sinful people, we must acknowledge our unrighteousness, confess our sin, and receive anew His words of absolution and forgiveness. With confidence in God's presence and promises, we cry out "Lord have mercy" and thank Him for his grace by singing a hymn of praise.
As God's children, we long to hear His voice. And so we listen as He speaks to us through His written word presented to us in two or three Scripture lessons. One of the lessons serves as the topic for the sermon which offers us instruction, encouragement, and help so we might more faithfully live the Christian life.
In response to God's Word, we renew our commitment to Him by confessing the faith. On Sunday mornings, we use as our confession the Nicene Creed. The Nicene Creed emphasizes the core focus of our faith: Jesus Christ, God incarnate, crucified, resurrected, and now reigning at the right hand of God the Father. As a further expression of faith and obedience, we present ourselves and our work to God through our tithes and offerings.
The Lord's Supper, which commemorates the Last Supper and anticipates the coming Marriage Supper of the Lamb, represents the climax of our worship. Up to this point, our worship has been in preparation for our approach to the table. Having forgiven and reconciled us to Himself, having spoken to us by his Word, and having renewed His covenant with us, God now invites us to feast with Him at His table where we eat with Christ in His presence. Finally, He sends us back into the world with His peace and blessing.
This order of worship follows the basic outline of the Gospel and the historic liturgy of the Western Church. Following the Reformation's approach to congregational participation, many of our prayers and music are printed in the bulletin to facilitate corporate worship.