Week 4—Liturgy: The Service of the Sacrament
Join us for Adult Catechumenate classes following each Wednesday Divine Service. This is offered for those that would like a refresher course on their catechetical instruction and especially for those desiring to join us and confess the Lutheran faith.
Prayer of the Church
God’s Word is always primary in worship. We speak only as we are spoken to. Gathered in Jesus’ Name, we bring the petitions and thanksgivings before Him that grow out of His Word. This prayer is called the Prayer of the Church for in it the royal priesthood of believers does its priestly work of making “supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings for all men, for kings and for all who are in high positions, that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life, godly and respectful in every way.” We stand for this prayer, for we are not slaves prostrating ourselves before the king asking for a favor. We are sons of God who come boldly to our Father with our requests, knowing that He welcomes us and them, and has promise to hear and answer.
Offertory & Offering
As we have received from the generosity of the Father who is the Author and Giver of every good and perfect gift, we now give of the gifts which He has given to us. Following the pattern of the apostolic church in 2 Corinthians 8-9, the congregation collects gifts to support the proclamation of the Gospel and works of mercy among those in need. The Offering symbolized the “spiritual worship” of Christian lives offered in response to God, and unites us in an act of fellowship. The offering is accompanied with an offertory from Psalm 51 which teaches us that the highest offering is simply to receive, in faith, the gifts God gives for body and soul.
Preface / Sanctus / Lord’s Prayer
Drawn toward the gifts of Jesus’ body and blood, our hearts are lifted up in thanksgiving and praise as we anticipate the reception of the gifts that carry with them our redemption. The Sanctus brings together the song of heaven’s angels in adoration of the Holy Three-in-One and the acclamations of Palm Sunday; “Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord, Hosanna in the highest.” In the prayer, we give thanks to the Lord for the redemption which He has secured for us by His cross; we ask Him to prepare us to receive that redemption in living and joyful faith. The Our Father, the prayer which Jesus taught His disciples to pray, is the “table prayer’ with which we come to the Lord’s Table.
It is appropriate and salutary to bow during the words of Isaiah in the first half of the Sanctus, for in the Lord’s Supper, we are coming into the presence of the all holy one, and so show our reverence for this reality.
The Words of Our Lord
The pastor speaks the Lord’s own words; these words give and bestow what they declare, the Body and Blood of Christ. The Sacrament of Jesus’ Body and Blood is the vehicle for peace. Showing them His wounds, the Risen Lord declared His peace is given us with the Lord’s Body and Blood. By sharing this “peace of the Lord” with each other, we lay aside all that stands in contradiction of the Lord’s testament. With the words of John the Baptist, the Agnus Dei confesses the mercy and peace that we receive from the Lamb of God in His Supper. We come to the Lord’s Table hungry and thirsty and He feeds us with His Body and refreshes us with His Blood. It is the Lord’s Supper. As Luther reminds us “Our Lord is at one and the same time chef, cook, butler, host, and food.”
It is appropriate and salutary to bow as the Words of our Lord are chanted, reflecting our belief that it is through the power of the Word of God that the Body and Blood of Jesus are now really and truly present “in, with, and under” this bread and wine.
Having received the Lord’s Body and Blood for our salvation, like Simeon who held in his arms the Savior of the world, we go in peace and joy singing Simeon’s Song from St. Luke, Chapter 2. Another song of thanksgiving based on 1 Chronicles 16:8-10 may be used instead. Before we leave the Lord’s Table, we give thanks, asking that the salutary gift of Jesus’ Body and Blood would have its way in our lives, strengthening us in faith toward God and fervent love toward one another. The Sacrament draws us outside of ourselves to live in Christ by faith and for the neighbor by love.
Salutation and Benedicamus
The Name of the Lord is the beginning and the end of the Divine Service. We are now marked with the Lord’s Name in the Benediction-that word of God’s Blessing from Numbers 6 in which He favors us with His grace and peace. With the Lord’s Name given us in Holy Baptism we were drawn together. Now with that same Name, He sends us back into the world, to the places of our various callings to live by the mercy we have received as living sacrifices to the praise of His glory and the good of our neighbor. To this benediction you add your Amen, declaring blessing received. After the recession the congregation is encouraged to silently offer prayer and praise to God. Such prayer is found on the inside front cover of the Lutheran Service Book (LSB).