A Lutheran Divine Service from the 16th century
Christian liturgy is an ordered service of public worship; the content of which is prayer, thanksgiving, and preaching and teaching Jesus Christ and His Cross. In one sense, all churches where members meet regularly and have an order of service are liturgical churches. Every worship order is an attempt to honor St. Paul’s direction that all things pertaining to our common public worship be done “decently and in order” (I Cor. 14:40). Lutheran churches normatively use worship orders that are derived from ancient forms, principally those of the Western Church. These forms have a depth and beauty that has persisted through centuries of Christian use, always with a degree of local variation.
The Sunday liturgy varies with the seasons, holy days, and festivals of the Church year. It is a time tested way of introducing the entire story of Jesus Christ into the lives of people, in a graduated manner. It has two main sections: The Liturgy of the Word (which includes prayers, psalms, and readings, leading to a sermon) and the Liturgy of the Sacrament (where bread and wine are consecrated and the body and blood of Christ are received, eaten and drunk). In the liturgy of the Church, we make use of various colors, sounds, movements, and texts to engender a reverent attitude while teaching our Scriptural faith.
If you are new and nervous about participating in a Lutheran liturgy, that’s okay. We don’t expect you to know it all beforehand, and we don’t expect perfection, nor do we ourselves achieve it. We strive to be gracious and to assist our visitors. All skills take time to cultivate.
Most importantly, Christ will be present in our worship because His Word is present there, and because he has promised in His Word to be graciously present for us – this is the necessary thing and the true pearl of great price. Our main goal in the liturgy is always to receive His gracious gifts, and respond with praise and thanksgiving.
Presently, Advent Lutheran uses the rites of the Lutheran Book of Worship (the big Green Book) for our public worship. A bulletin is provided and will list the pages for the relevant parts of the liturgy as well as the hymns for the day.
Be sure to check the “Walk through the Divine Service” tab for an explanation of the various parts of the Sunday liturgy.
Here is a very good podcast introducing “Classical Christian Worship” from Pr. William Weedon.