TRADITIONAL LITURGY - What Does This Mean?
Christ Lutheran Church, NALC follows a Traditional Divine Service Liturgy for our worship service. What does this mean?
LITURGY – A set order for Prayers and Worship. There are several types of Liturgical services available to the North American Lutheran Church. The one we use most often has two main parts: Service of the Word and Service of the Sacrament. Word and Sacrament are priorities for our church, and we like to celebrate them at least once a week, and sometime more often. Traditional means we celebrate our services the way people have celebrated for decades and even centuries. Some of our hymns are hundreds of years old and some are newer. Below is a description of the parts of our Traditional Liturgical Divine Service.,
SERVICE OF THE WORD – This is the first part of our service, and it was originally modeled after the worship services of the Jews, as Jesus would have worshipped before His death and Resurrection. It focuses on the Holy Bible, and usually contains three or four readings from Scripture. Here is the Order of Service for the Service of the Word portion of our worship:
Absolution – we confess that we are sinners an ask God’s forgiveness
Procession and Entrance Hymn – the Pastor and worship assistants proceed down the aisle to the altar usually led by someone called Crucifer who carries the cross on a pole.
The Greeting – The Pastor greets the congregation with “The Lord Be With You” and we respond “And also with you!”
The Hymn of Praise – We sing the Kyrie (Lord Have Mercy) and either the Gloria or This is the Feast (on feast days)
The Readings: (read by Lector or Worship Assistant)
- First Reading (usually Old Testament, except during Easter season)
- Psalm of the Day – usually read in couplets with congregation reading every other verse in response to verses read by lector. Sometimes the Psalm is chanted on feast days.
- Second Reading (an Epistle or Letter from one of the Apostles or Disciples)
Holy Gospel – A reading from the Book of Matthew, or the Book of Mark, or the Book of Luke on a three-year cycle, with the Book of John read occassionally throughout every year.
Sermon (usually explaining the Gospel) given by our Pastor.
Creed – We recite the creed of the day, usually the Nicene Creed but sometimes the we recite the Apostles’ Creed and once a year on Trinity Sunday, we recite the Athanasian Creed, which is longer and more detailed.
Hymn of the Day – a special hymn chosen with the same theme as that of the Gospel reading.
Prayers of the Church – Petitions which vary based on seasons and local or universal needs. We include prayers for the sick, those serving in the military, for our government, and sometimes for victims of current national disasters. The petitions are announced and the congregation responds with “Lord, Hear Our Prayer” or some similar phrase as announced.
The Sharing of the Peace – We shake hands or greet other members of the congregation saying “Peace of the Lord Be With You Always!” Christ Lutheran Church is a very friendly church, and the sharing of the Peace takes at least five minutes. We usually have time to shake the hands of 20 or 30 of our fellow congregants and to welcome our visitors personally.,
SERVICE OF THE SACRAMENT
SERVICE OF THE SACRAMENT – is the second part of our Divine Liturgy Service. It includes the Offering, prayers for the preparation for Communion, distribution of Communion and a final Thanksgiving.
Offertory – We offer Bread and Wine to God. The bread and wine are presented by members of the congregation to the Pastor.
The Great Thanksgiving – We thank God with a long prayer read by the Pastor that varies from week to week and season to season.
The Sanctus – Holy, Holy, Holy, Lord God Almighty! ….
Eucharistic Prayers – Prayers before Communion. Eucharist comes from the Greek word “Charis” meaning Thanks. We thank God for the Gift of His Body and Blood.
Words of Institution – “This is My Body….This is My Blood” – Pastor speaks the Words of Christ and we recognize the bread is now the Body and Blood of Christ in, with, and under the presence of bread.
The Lord’s Prayer – “Our Father, Who Art in Heaven…”
Agnus Dei – “Lamb of God Who Takes Away the Sins of the World…”
The Fraction – Breaking of the Bread. “Reveal yourself to us O Lord….”
The Invitation to Communion – Congregation is invited to receive Communion
Distribution of Communion – usually to those gathered at the Communion rail. Distribution is of the bread which we hold until the presentation to us of the wine by the worship assistant. We then dip the bread in the wine before consuming it and say Amen.
The Communion Hymn – usually a slower hymn sung during communion distribution
The Eucharistic Blessings after Communion
The Post Communion Canticle – “Thank the Lord and Sing His Praise…”, a short hymn sung every week, except during Lent when we use another short hymn without Allelulias.
Benediction – The blessing of the Congregation. “The Lord Bless You and Keep You…”
The Recessional Hymn – Usually livelier, with the Pastor and worship assistants leaving the altar and chancel area on the last verse.
The Dismissial – “Go in Peace and Serve the Risen Lord! or something similar, varying by church season.