The Divine Service
1. You are coming into the presence of the King Who Comes to Save us. An opening hymn may call upon His Name or otherwise reflect the season and the nature of our time together. If the cross is carried in procession, please stand to turn and face it as it passes. If the hymn's final verse calls upon God's Three-fold Name, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, we stand in honor of The Name.
2. After the hymn, the pastor speaks the Invocation, making the sign of the cross. The baptized children of God may also make the sign of the cross, remembering God's Promise in Holy Baptism. (Matthew 28:19).
3. The people confess their sins and the pastor speaks words of forgiveness, called the Absolution. (John 20:19-23)
4. During the singing of a portion of a psalm, called the Introit, meaning "he enters," the pastor enters the chancel, where the altar is located. We sing the Kyrie, calling on God for His Mercy (Mark 10:47). After that, we join the heavenly choir in singing the same song they did when Christ came to earth in the flesh (Luke 2:14). We call it the Gloria in Excelsis and it reminds us that Peace again comes to earth in the person of Christ, Who serves us in His Word and Sacraments.
5. A collect gathers the prayers and petitions of God's people before the Lord's altar, and then we hear the reading of His Word. The pastor reads from the Old Testament and Epistle, and then from the Gospel. Having heard from God's Word, the people confess the Christian Faith according to the Nicene Creed. This is followed by the Hymn of the Day. The pastor then preaches on one of the readings.
6. Having heard God's Law and Gospel proclaimed by the pastor, the people are comforted that God has indeed provided a Sacrifice in His Son. Jesus Christ has suffered and died, and now, risen from the dead, He Himself desires us to draw near in His Communion. We sing the Offertory from Psalm 51:10-12 as the Table is prepared. God's people bring their gifts of money for the support of the Gospel in our midst, in this community, and around the world. We then bring our prayers for all people before the Lord (1 Timothy 2:1-4).
7. The Preface begins our final approach toward eating and drinking in our Lord's Presence. With angels, archangels and all the company of heaven, we join in singing the Sanctus (Isaiah 6:3; Matthew 21:9). The pastor may chant the Lord's Prayer as Christ's representative of His people, or the people may speak or chant it in unison. The pastor then chants the Words of Our Lord instituting the Sacrament of the Altar (Matthew 26:26-28; Mark 14:22-24; Luke 22:19-20; 1 Corinthians 11:23-25). The people are urged to pay close attention, as this is the very Voice of Christ among us. The pastor genuflects when the Body of Christ is present in the Bread, and again when the Blood of Christ is present in the Wine. The people may cross themselves and say "Amen." The pastor elevates the Body and Blood of Christ and speaks the Pax Domini (John 20:19).
8. During the Agnus Dei (John 1:29), the pastor receives the Body and Blood from his own hand and communes his assistants. Only those who have been baptized, instructed, examined, absolved and are thus in good standing as confirmed in the Lutheran faith are normally admitted to Communion. Those desiring to commune should speak to the pastor, who will be glad to provide instruction. Those communing may receive the Body and Blood, saying, "Amen" as the pastor presents the elements. Ladies may want to remove their lipstick before receiving from the Chalice. Gum should also be removed from the mouth before eating and drinking Christ's Body and Blood. This is a most Sacred Meal, and we are to approach it in reverent faith for the forgiveness of sins.
9. After the Lord's Supper, we sing The Nunc Dimittis, Simeon's song of Luke 2:29-32. As surely as Simeon held the Christ in his hands, so we have held Christ's true Body and Blood in bread and wine on our lips! We are ready now to depart in His peace - either to our lives of service in love, or even to our deaths and the everlasting life that is ours because of Him Who promised, "Whoever eats My Flesh and drinks My Blood has eternal life and I will raise him up at the last day," (John 6:54).
10. The Benediction (Numbers 6:24-26) concludes the Service. As we began in the Lord's Name, once given to us in our Baptism, so we have that Name placed upon us one last time. We go from the Table of our Lord, strengthened by His Body and His Blood, to live in faith toward Him and in fervent love toward one another. To this, the people of God say, "Amen, amen, amen."
Sunday Divine Service times are 8 and 10:30 a.m.
Sunday School and Bible Class are at 9:15 a.m.
If you have questions about our communion practice, please click here. You may also call and speak to our pastor at (601) 992-4752, or email him. Or simply talk to one of our members. We'd love you to come, and want you to feel most welcome!