The joy of Easter begins.
The majority...do not go to the service to be entertained. They go to the service, or if you prefer, to enact it. Every service is a structure of acts and words through which we receive a sacrament, or repent, or supplicate, or adore.
The tone of our worship is from Him (God) to us, and then back to Him. We come into His House, His presence, and we receive...that is most important.
INVOCATION- Whether each person begins with the sign of the cross, or the pastor starts off the service with that (after a good hymn to start); we then hear "let us begin in the Name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit". This is our confession that all we will receive, whether by mouth or hearing, or sight or feeling; comes from the Lord Himself.
CONFESSION and ABSOLUTION - The world's deepest problem is not badness as opposed to goodness; it is sin, the incurable tendency to put self first. And tghat means there is nothing, no right deed, however noble, thrifty, brave, clean, or reverent that can be done to fix sin. You bring those sins to open words of "Lord, forgive me", your heart has turned to faith in God to do just that, and you receive full pardon from the lips of the pastor, as if Christ spoke Himself. We are then clean, yes, for that moment in time.
SALUTATION and COLLECT of the DAY - We shout out to God, "hear our prayer", and He responds, "I do". Yet, even in this prayer, we hear what God desires for us; unworthy we are, He still opens His heart to us.
OLD TESTAMENT READING - God speaks in Holy Scripture, God acts as well; and this reading always points us to what God has done, and will continue to do. Yes, words of prophecy at times.
THE PSALM - What greater songs and writings are there but the Psalms. The Psalmist cries out with joy, praise; and sometimes lament and prayer. We can shout and sing the Psalms and chase the devil himself away.
THE EPISTLE READING - These readings boast of the cross and what Christ has done.
THE HOLY GOSPEL - The WORD made flesh, dwelled among us, died for us sinners, and rose. This is His account retold. Jesus is the reason we are going home when we close our eyes in this life.
HYMN OF THE DAY - Good hymns reflect good theology, and tell a wonderful story of Christ in song.
SERMON - The Pastor does his best to make words of Scripture ring true in the ears of the listener. The devil and all his wiles have been working hard to chase God's people away, the pastor with the help of the Holy Spirit brings them back.
THE CREEDS - both Nicene and Apostles, and sometimes the Athanasian are spoken (only one each Sunday). We remind ourselves what it means to be church "catholic", not Roman Catholic of course, but what Christ intended, and what the Fathers of the Church confessed.
Christ told us to do this, and we do, we lay our concerns at the foot of the cross. We ask Jesus to hear us and act according to His good pleasure.
A man/woman suffering from a wound needs a remedy. The wound being our slavery to sin; and the remedy, the sacrament of His Body and Blood.
PREFACE - We are hungry humans, and we must eat to live. We have gifts of God's earthly food, we also have His gift of the heavenly food. Jesus invites us to the banquet, His banquet of His flesh and blood.
SANCTUS - We sing of the antidote to death, we sing od the healing promised by His Body and Blood, given and shed for us who by faith take it in.
PRAYER OF THANKSGIVING - We give thanks for all God has done, we pray also the prayer He has taught us, the "Lord's Prayer". We ask for daily bread, God delivers. He delivers with food that sustains the living body, He delivers with food that sustains the soul.
THE WORDS OF OUR LORD - Bread and wine, become Body and Blood. A sacred mystery, we believe, confess, and partake of.
PAX DOMINI - Jesus is God for us, God with us, and God within us. Jesus gives Himself completely, He does not hold back. What divine love.
AGNUS DEI - The banquet table is set, Jesus invites us in. Christ will join Himself to those that come and eat and drink.
DISTRIBUTION - We come forward, whether we bow or kneel; we receive a gift of life.
POST COMMUNION COLLECT - We rejoice, we shout for joy...of what our Savior has done for us.
BENEDICTION - God has acted this day, we receive sso much, and we go with His blessing. And then we act as good and faithful Christians, loving our fellow man, as He has loved us.
Some Church services are contemporary, some entertaining, what have you...for one hour, within the Divine Liturgy, we receive so much love, so much gift, if you truly understand, well; you would shout for joy as you leave. Plenty of time for praise during the entire week until we meet again.
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