GOD'S SERVICE OF THE WORD
Introit, Kyrie (Lord have mercy), Gloria in
THE READING AND PREACHING OF THE GOSPEL
Our thankful response in Confession of Faith,
prayer and offerings
GOD'S SERVICE OF HOLY COMMUNION
Preface and Sanctus (Holy, Holy, Holy)
WORDS OF INSTITUTION WITH THE DISTRIBUTION
The Prayer of Thanksgiving
The Lords Benediction (blessing)
DAYS AND SEASONS OF THE CHURCH YEAR
Following the tradition of the early Christians
we conduct God's Service on Sunday morning. Our service is held
at 9:30 a.m.
The Church regards Sunday as the 8th day, the
day of a new creation. On the 6th day God finished his first
creation, the 7th day he rested, and on the 8th day the Fall
into sin occurred as [his] creation was subjected to death.
Compare that to Christ. On Good Friday he died to redeem his
creation. On Saturday he rested in the grave. On Sunday, the
8th day, he rose from the dead and restored life to fallen mankind.
Thus Sunday becomes the day for New Testament Christians to
worship, not just because Jesus rose, but also because it is
the day of a "new creation". We enter this "day"
through Holy Baptism and continue this "day" through
preaching and the Sacrament (Holy Communion).
We also follow a "church year".
THE CHURCH YEAR IS DIVIDED INTO TWO
- Advent - Season of repentance and fasting
in preparation for Christ's coming
- 12 Days of Christmas - Christ's nativity, his circumcision,
his epiphany by a star to the Magi and his baptism.
- The "green Sundays" of
Epiphany - Focus on Jesus as the "God who became flesh".
- Pre-lent and Lent - Season of repentance and fasting in
preparation for Holy Week
- Holy Week - Palm Sunday, Maundy Thursday and Good Friday
- 50 Days of Easter - Christ's Resurrection, Christ's Ascension,
- The "green" Sundays after Pentecost - Celebrate
the life-giving words and works of Christ.
The Liturgical colors we use express
the spirit of the season, in which they are used:
- White: Joy, victory
- Purple: Sorrow, repentance
- Red: Fire (Holy Spirit) and Blood (the struggle of discipleship)
- Green: Life of Christ
- Black: Christ's Death
- Rose: A lessening of the Advent or
Special Services At St. Paul's . . .
- The Sacrament of Holy Communion is celebrated in
all Services. Unless noted otherwise, Day Services start at
9:30 a.m.; Night Services start at 7 p.m.
- The Christmas Season
- Christmas Eve Candlelight Service (11:00 p.m.)
- Christmas Day Service
- The Lenten Season
- Ash Wednesday Service (7:00 p.m.) with the imposition
- Lenten Services - Wednesday evenings, starting with
Ash Wednesday and continuing through the six weeks of
- Holy Week
- Maunday Thursday Service
- Good Friday Service (1:00 p.m.)
- The Great Vigil of Easter (7:00 a.m.)
- Easter Service
- Thanksgiving Day Service
We invite and encourage you to take advantage
of these opportunities to meet your Lord and to receive his
gracious blessings of forgiveness, life and salvation!
A MORE COMPLETE EXPLANATION OF OUR ORDER
“God’s Service” is what we
Lutherans have traditionally called what happens on Sunday
morning, and it describes it well – God serves us with
his gifts, and we respond in faith, praise and prayer. The
term “worship: that is often used to describe the service
does not give the whole picture. Worship is a secondary purpose
of the service. Worship is what we offer God. The most important
aspect to God’s Service, however, is that God gives
us his gifts, and through these gifts the Holy Spirit gives
us faith. The highest worship is faith, which responds in
prayer and praise. The service, then, is indeed God’s
work. He gives and enables us to receive. Dr. Martin Luther
reminds us that forgiveness was won on the cross but we do
not receive it there. Rather God dispenses his gifts through
his Word preached and the Sacraments administered.
The Order of Service that we use at St. Paul’s
Evangelical-Lutheran Church consists of three parts, which
correspond to the ways God in Christ comes to us in Baptism,
in the Word and in the Sacrament. These parts are labeled
the PREPARATION, the SERVICE OF THE WORD, and the SERVICE
OF HOLY COMMUNION. The order is printed below in bold print,
while the explanation follows in italics.
Hearts made alive by the Holy Spirit sing.
Music is not only the domain of the expert but is the language
of the Church. The Processional Hymn will be chosen either
to fit the theme of the day, or it may be a general hymn or
one invoking the work of the Holy Spirit. The Congregation
rises to sing this hymn, as this is the posture of confidence
and joy; also to honor Christ, who now humbles himself to
speak to us and act on our behalf through the mouth and hands
of his ordained minister.
P: In the name of the Father and of
the Son and of the Holy Spirit.
In Baptism God adopted us into his family.
In Baptism God put his Name- Father, Son and Holy Spirit-
on us. In Baptism our sinful nature was drowned and a new
man came forth, clothed in Christ. The font is indeed our
“tomb and womb”. We appropriately begin the service
by going back to our Baptism. The pastor, as at our Baptism,
makes the sign of the holy cross over us. In Baptism we are
buried with Christ into his death – we receive the benefit
of that death: the forgiveness of sins, and we are also united
with him in his resurrection. We receive a new life. Thus
it is a laudable custom to cross yourself at this point in
the service, and whenever the sign + is found. Signing oneself
with the cross preceded the use of a cross in the ancient
church. The church responds with her: “Amen” –
a Hebrew word meaning “truth”. God gives, we respond.
P: Beloved in the Lord, let us draw
near with a true heart and confess our sins to God our Father,
asking him in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ to grant us
P: Our help is in the name of the Lord.
C: Who made heaven and earth.
P: I said, I will confess my transgressions
to the Lord:
C: And you forgave the guilt of all
C: O almighty God, merciful Father,
I, a poor, miserable sinner, confess to you all my sins and
iniquities with which I have ever offended you and justly
deserve your temporal and eternal punishment. But I am heartily
sorry for them and sincerely repent of them, and I pray you
of your boundless mercy can for the sake of the holy, innocent,
bitter sufferings and death of your dearly loved Son Jesus
Christ to be gracious and merciful to me, a poor sinful being.
P: Upon this your confession, I, as
a called and ordained servant of the Word, announce the grace
of God to all of you. And in the stead and by the command
of my Lord Jesus Christ, I forgive you all your sins in the
name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.
To confess is to acknowledge what you know
to be true. From the Holy Scriptures we acknowledge that we
have sinned in thought, word and deed, because we’ve
been sinful from the moment we were conceived. And yet we
also acknowledge that God is gracious and merciful and will
forgive us for the sake of his Son Jesus Christ.
Then in the name and in the stead of Christ,
our pastor forgives our sins. The Lutheran Confessions teach
that this Absolution is the “voice of God” and
that the “voice of one absolving must be believed not
otherwise than we would believe a voice from heaven.”
Unconditional forgiveness is ours!
Historically, the Confession of sins was not
a part of the service but was done privately and individually.
Unlike in the Church of Rome private confession is not mandatory,
nor is it required that we enumerate our sins. Rather we offer
this “third Sacrament” for the sake of the Absolution,
because of its individual application of forgiveness. The
Lutheran Confessions teach that it would be “wicked
to remove private absolution from the church.” Thus
the members of St. Paul’s are encouraged to practice
it. Rest assured, that your confession will be held in absolute
confidence. The Pastor will never reveal it to anyone, since
this is a confession to Christ, not to him.
THE SERVICE OF THE WORD
Historically, this Psalm was sung “antiphonally”
– the cantor sings the first line of the stanza; the
choir or congregation responds with the second line. This
reflects the “parallelism” of Hebrew poetry, where
each stanza expressed parallel thoughts. Take Psalm 6 as an
example: “O Lord, do not rebuke me in our anger / or
discipline me in your wrath.”
THE KYRIE AND GLORIA IN EXCELSIS
P: Lord, have mercy on us. Christ,
have mercy on us. Lord, have mercy on us.
P: Glory be to God on high.
C: And on earth peace, goodwill toward
men. We praise you, we bless you, we worship you, we glorify
you, we give thanks to you for your great glory, O Lord God,
heavenly King, God the Father almighty. O Lord, the only begotten
Son, Jesus Christ; O Lord God, Lamb of God, Son of the Father,
you take away the sin of the world; have mercy on us. You
take away the sin of the world; receive our prayer. You sit
at the right hand of God the Father; have mercy on us. For
you only are holy; you only are the Lord. You only, O Christ,
with the Holy Spirit, are most high in the glory of God the
The “Kyrie”, as it is called (Lord,
have mercy) is the prayer of the church for the blessings
of her God, in whose presence She has now come.
It is immediately followed by “the Gloria
in Excelsis” (Glory be to God on high) – the great
hymn of praise. For in the absolution we heard the voice of
God and with grateful hearts we sing with angels the song
first heard in the skies over Bethlehem. Dr. Luther reminds
us that “the Gloria in Excelsis” did not grow,
nor was it made on earth, but it came down from heaven.”
Faith expresses itself in praise, praise in the strictest
sense, praise which extols God. It is not an expression of
my emotions but a proclamation of who God is and what he has
THE SCRIPTURE READINGS
P: The Lord be with you.
C: And with your spirit.
The pastor does not simply wish the Lord to
be with you, but through his ministrations the Lord is with
you. The congregation responds with what is sometimes referred
to as “the little ordination” – the assurance
that the pastor has the authority to act in the stead of Christ,
for God is with him by virtue of his ordination.
The 1st Reading
P: The Word of the Lord.
C: Thanks be to God.
Gradual by choir
The Epistle Reading
P: The Word of the Lord.
With confession and prayer, together we are
now prepared to hear God in his Word. Throughout the year
portions of Scripture are read to cover the theme for each
Sunday. More often than not, the 1st Readings are taken from
the Old Testament (though in the Easter Season they may come
from the Acts of the Apostles) and have a direct connection
with the Gospel.
GOSPEL READING AND PREACHING
Verse by choir or congregation
P: The continuation of the Gospel of
our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ according to St. (Mathew/Mark/Luke/John).
C: Glory be to you, O Lord.
THE GOSPEL READING
P: The Gospel of our Lord.
C: Praise be to you, O Christ.
In the reading and preaching of the Gospel
of the day we come to the first “high point” of
the Service. It begins with the Verse. That Christ will come
and speak now to his people leads the church to respond with
her “alleluia” – the Greek transliteration
of the Hebrew “hallelujah!” meaning, “Praise
Christ is coming we were told in the Old Testament
Reading. Indeed, he comes and we hear his voice in the living
Gospel. To show the “Word made flesh” dwells with
us in his Gospel, the Pastor may read it in the midst
of the congregation, and, after introducing it, we stand and
sing, “Glory be to you, O Lord” – a fitting
greeting for the Incarnate One, whom we shall not simply hear
about, but actually hear. The Gospel is read and we in joy
sing, “Praise be to you, O Christ.”
Also known as “preaching of the Gospel”,
since its function is to deliver the Gospel to those who are
present. Clearly this is not entertainment or even education
(although we do learn), but it is a time of proclamation and
application. Here the Law of God is proclaimed, which law
accuses, convicts, condemns and kills. Here the Gospel is
proclaimed, which Gospel absolves, forgives, redeems and makes
alive. Thus the sermon prepares for the Sacrament; it forms
a bridge between the Gospel in the Word and the Gospel in
THE CHIEF HYMN
This is the only hymn, which is not sung to
cover up movement in the service, but rather its purpose is
to proclaim the Gospel that was read and preached.
THE NICENE CREED
P: I believe in one God.
ALL: the Father, the Almighty, maker of heaven and earth, of all that is seen and unseen.
I believe in one Lord +Jesus Christ, the only Son of God, eternally begotten of the Father, God from God, Light from Light, true God from true God, begotten, not made, being of one substance with the Father. Through Him all things were made. For us men and for our salvation, He came down from heaven, + was incarnate by the Holy Spirit of the Virgin Mary, and was made man. For our sake He was crucified under Pontius Pilate. He suffered and was buried. On the third day He rose again in accordance with the Scriptures. He ascended into heaven and is seated on the right hand of the Father. He will come again with glory to judge the living and the dead, and His kingdom will have no end.
I believe in the Holy Spirit, the Lord, the giver of life, who proceeds from the Father and the Son, who in unity with the Father and the Son is + worshiped and glorified, who hbas spoken through the prophets. I believe one holy Christian and apostolic Church. I acknowledge one Baptism for the forgiveness of sins. I look for the resurrection of the dead and the life of the world to come. Amen.
Having heard the Word of God, the church repeats
what She heard, as She confesses with the whole Church the
one, true Faith. This is what we believe. The creed is not
a prayer, but a confession of our Faith before God and the
world. The sign of the cross may be made at the end indicating
the cross or persecution that the Christian must bear because
of his confession, the cross of which Jesus spoke when he
told his disciples to “take up the cross and follow
me.” This is the creed for which some have given up
their lives. Also in the creed we have an instrument to check
the orthodoxy of what the pastor preaches. This is the reason
why it is placed after the sermon.
THE PRAYER OF THE CHURCH
Prayer is repeating back to God in faith what
he has said to us. He has through the mouth of his ordained
minister said that we are his forgiven children in Christ;
that as such he loves and will care for us and so will cause
all things to work for our good. Therefore we now respond
by asking him for his care and blessings. The Prayer of the
Church, which we recite in “litany” form (the
pastor speaks the petition; the congregation responds in faith,
“Hear our prayer”), is based on St. Paul’s
admonition to Timothy, “I urge you, then, first of all,
that requests, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made
for everyone- for kings and all those in authority, that we
may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness”
(1 Timothy 2:1-2).
The offering is not simply a collection so
that we can pay the bills. We give “from”, not
“to”. We give from a heart of love and dedication
and from what God has given us in proportion to our faith
and our blessings. The offering is an act of worship. Money
is not a dirty subject in the church, but a tangible means
of showing our faith and love; it is an acknowledgement that
all we have comes from God and it is the means by which we
support the Gospel ministry. Historically, during this time
both the monetary gifts, as well as gifts of food for the
poor and the gifts of bread and wine to be used in the Lord’s
Supper, were brought up to the chancel and laid on the Altar.
THE SERVICE OF HOLY COMMUNION
At this time the bread and wine are brought
into the sanctuary and placed on the Altar to be consecrated
for use in the Sacrament.
THE GENERAL AND PROPER PREFACES
P: The Lord be with you.
C: And with your spirit.
P: Lift up your hearts.
C: We lift them up unto the Lord.
P: Let us give thanks to the Lord,
C: It is good and right so to do.
This is called the “preface”. With
these brief but majestic phrases we have a solemn introduction,
which leads us to the heart of the service. This is the oldest
and least changed part of the liturgy, used universally by
the church since AD 220.
The “little ordination” is repeated,
as again the pastor is about to act in the stead of Christ.
We are then asked to “lift up our hearts”, for
we have no reason to fear the God whom we are about to approach
in this Sacrament, since he comes to bless us. The use of
the plural is purposeful; we are gathering as one body to
receive the Body of Christ. Solemnly we acknowledge the appropriateness
of thanks for the blessings we are about to receive.
P: It is truly good, right and salutary
that we should at all times and in all places give thanks
to you, holy Lord, almighty Father, everlasting God (seasonal
response). Therefore with angels and archangels and with all
the company of heaven we laud and magnify your glorious name,
evermore praising you and saying:
C: Holy, holy, holy Lord God of heavenly
hosts: heaven and earth are full of your glory. Hosanna, hosanna,
hosanna in the highest. Blessed is he, blessed is he, blessed
is he who comes in the name of the Lord. Hosanna, hosanna,
hosanna in the highest!
We are asked to give thanks for this great
gift we are about to receive. The name “Eucharist”
comes from the Greek word for “thanks”. In one
of the most sublime and comforting portions of the liturgy
we join with all Christians in heaven and on earth to sing
this song the angels sing in heaven, called the “Sanctus”.
This song also incorporates the song with which Jesus was
greeted when he entered Jerusalem on Palm Sunday. “Hosanna!”
– “Lord, save us!” For the Son of David
is coming to be with us and to give himself to us in the Sacrament!
THE EUCHARISTIC PRAYER
Acknowledging to God both what Jesus did on the cross for us and what he does in and through the Sacrament, we pray that he will send the Holy Spirit with the gift of faith to embrace Christ’s real, physical presence under the consecrated bread and wine.
P: Almighty God, our heavenly Father, from Your tender mercy You gave Your only Son, Jesus Christ, to suffer death upon the cross for our redemption. By the one oblation of Himself, once offered, He made there a full, perfect and sufficient sacrifice, oblation and satisfaction for the sins of the whole world. And in His Holy Gospel, He instituted and commanded us to celebrate a perpetual remembrance of His precious death until He comes again.
The Pastor then chants:
For our Lord Jesus Christ, on the night he was betrayed, took bread, and when He had given thanks, He broke it and gave it to His disciples and said: “Take, eat; this is My body, which is given for you. This do in remembrance of Me.” The Pastor genuflects, then elevates the Host, after which he genuflects a second time.
In the same way also He took the cup after supper, and when He had given thanks, He gave it to them saying: “Drink of it, all of you; this cup is the new testament in My blood, which is shed for you for the forgiveness of sins. This do, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of Me.” The Pastor genuflects, then elevates the Cup, after which he genuflects a second time.
The Lutheran Confessions in speaking about the consecration quote Luther: When in the Supper we say, according to (Christ’s) institution and command: ‘This is my Body,’ it is his Body, not on account of our speaking or word uttered (because these words, when uttered have this efficacy), but because of his command – that he has commanded us thus to speak and do, and has united his command and act with our speaking.” Here the true Body and true Blood of Christ are present, distributed and received for the forgiveness of sins. In early Lutheranism, when the liturgy was sung in its entirety, the Verba (words of institution) were sung in the same key as the Gospel to show that the Sacrament is pure Gospel. The Eucharistic Prayer now continues:
Therefore, O Lord and heavenly Father, according to the institution of Your dearly beloved Son, our Savior Jesus Christ, we Your humble servants celebrate and make here, before Your divine majesty, with these Your holy gifts, the commemoration Your Son has willed us to make. Remembering His blessed Passion, mighty Resurrection and glorious Ascension, we give You most hearty thanks for the innumerable benefits which He has procured for us.
And of Your almighty goodness we most humbly beseech You, O merciful Father, to hear us. And send down Your Holy Spirit upon us and upon Your gifts of bread and wine, and bless them and hallow them; and show that this bread is the precious Body of our Lord and God and Savior Jesus Christ; and this cup is the precious Blood of our Lord and God and Savior Jesus Christ, which was shed for the life of the world.
Earnestly desiring Your fatherly goodness, mercifully to accept this our sacrifice of praise and thanksgiving: we most humbly beseech You to grant that, by the merits and death of Your Son Jesus Christ, and through faith in His Blood, we and Your whole Church may obtain remission of our sins and all other benefits of His Passion.
And here we offer and present to You, O Lord, ourselves, our souls and bodies, to be a reasonable, holy, and lively sacrifice unto You. We humbly beseech You that all who partake of this Holy Communion may worthily receive the most precious Body and Blood of Your Son Jesus Christ, and be filled with Your grace and heavenly benediction, and being made one body with Him, may dwell in Him, even as He dwells in them.
And although we are unworthy, because of our many sins, to offer You any sacrifice; yet we beseech You to accept this our bounden duty and service. And command that our prayers and supplications, by the ministry of Your holy angels, may be brought to Your holy tabernacle before the sight of Your divine majesty, not weighing our merits but pardoning our offenses through Christ our Lord. Amen.
P: Remembering, holy Father, his life-giving
Passion and Death, his Resurrection from the dead, and his
glorious Ascension into heaven, we celebrate the sacrifice
of your Son, our Lord, by means of his holy Supper. Join our
prayers with those of your servants of every time and place,
and unite them in the ceaseless petitions of our great High
Priest, until he comes again in power and great glory as victorious
Lord of all.
C: Through him, with him, in him, in
the unity of the Holy Spirit, all glory and honor is yours,
almighty Father, now and forever. Amen.
The “Prayer of Remembrance”, also
called the “Anamnesis” – from the Greek
meaning “remembrance”, together with the “Acclamation”
is to honor the command of our Lord, who said, “Do this
in remembrance of me – that is, with faith in all that
I have done for you. ”’
P: Taught by our Lord and trusting
his promise, we are bold to pray:
C: Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed
by thy name; thy kingdom come; thy will be done on earth,
as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily Bread. And
forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass
against us. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us
from evil. For thine is the kingdom and the power and the
glory forever and ever. Amen.
We are about to kneel at the Lord’s Table
to receive his Body and Blood, and so we pray our “Table
Prayer” – the one perfect prayer for the one perfect
meal, since the Lord himself gave it to us.
P: Deliver us, O Lord, we beseech you, from every evil past, present and to come; and graciously grant peace in our days by Your compassionate aid, we may ever be free from all sin and sheltered from all turmoil, through Jesus Christ, you Son, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, One God, world without end.
P: The peace of the Lord be with you
When our resurrected Lord came to his disciples
who were huddled behind locked doors for fear of the Jews,
he drove away their fear with his word of peace. This peace
comes from the forgiveness of sins, which appeases God’s
wrath and restores us into a loving relationship with him
again. And since this forgiveness, won on Calvary, is given
in the Sacrament, so is this peace.
P: Behold, the Lamb of God, who takes
away the sin of the world.
C: O Christ, Lamb of God, you take
away the sin of the world; have mercy on us. O Christ, Lamb
of God, you take away the sin of the world; have mercy on
us. O Christ, Lamb of God, you take away the sin of the world;
grant us your peace. Amen.
When St. John the Baptizer saw Jesus at the
Jordan he identified him as “the Lamb of God”
– the fulfillment of the Passover lambs – “who
takes away the sin of the world.” The Lamb of God is
now present on the Altar to do this very thing and in so doing
to have mercy on us and grant us his peace.
We have now come to the second “high
point” of the service. In the preaching of the Gospel
Christ is put into our ears. In the Sacrament he is put into
THE DISTRIBUTION OF CHRIST’S BODY AND BLOOD
Dr. Luther, in answer to the complaint that
one doesn’t need the Sacrament because one has all ready
been forgiven in the Absolution, said, “So what! To
receive God’s Word in many ways is so much better.”
We look at ourselves in the light of God’s Law and we
look at what is being offered in this precious meal, and we
have our answer as to whether we should approach the Lord’s
Table or not.
The properly instructed, prepared and penitent
approach the Lord’s Table; the pastor places the Body
of Christ on outstretched tongues and gives them to drink
of the Blood of Christ. The sign of the holy cross may be
made at the dismissal as a physical reminder that I have received
Christ and the benefits of his redemptive work.
C: Lord, now let your servant depart
in peace according to your word. For my eyes have seen our
Salvation, which you have prepared before the face of all
people, a Light to lighten the Gentiles and the glory of your
Promised by the Holy Spirit that he would not
die until he had seen the Lord’s Christ, the prophet
Simeon sang this song, as he held the Christ-child in his
arms. Now he could depart- that is die- in peace. We, too,
have seen and touched and even tasted Christ by means of this
Sacrament. Thus we may depart in peace, even if that means
P: O give thanks to the Lord, for he
C: And his mercy endures forever.
It is fitting that we give a prayer of thanks
to the Lord, who has refreshed our bodies and souls by means
of this holy Sacrament. Dr. Luther said that as Christ has
offered himself, his very Body, to us, so the Christian offers
himself, his very body, to his neighbor. “As we have
eaten and drunk the Body and Blood of Christ, we in turn say
the same words to our neighbor – take, eat and drink
– and this by no means in jest, but in all seriousness,
meaning to offer yourself with all your life, even as Christ
did with all that he had. If it is necessary for me to die
for you, I will even do that.”
P: The Lord bless you and keep you.
The Lord make his face shine on you and be gracious to you.
The Lord look on you with his favor and give you peace.
C: Amen. Amen. Amen.
At the beginning of the service we were reminded
that the Lord put his name on us at our Baptism. He redeemed
us and we became his possession, no longer the possession
of Satan. At the end of the service God again puts his name
on us and we respond with a triple “Amen” for
the bountiful blessings of the Triune God. The Father has
blessed us in Christ through the Holy Spirit in Baptism, in
the preaching of his Word, and in the Sacrament of Holy Communion.
Renewed, refreshed and strengthened in the forgiveness of
sins, we go back out into the world to resume our various
The congregation stands to thank and honor
the Christ who served his people through the mouth and hands
of his ordained minister.