When we have encountered God at work among us in our worship and in our daily lives, our proper response is a lifelong Alleluia and a shout at the end of our worship, “Thanks be to God!” We place our “Amen” over all that the liturgy celebrates.
You are a Worshiper
You are not a spectator. Lutheran worship invites the active, full, conscious participation of each worshiper.
As a worshiper, you will be invited to listen to God’s word and to receive Holy Communion. You will have the opportunity to confess your faith, to praise God, to pray, to offer yourself for God’s mission, and to share the peace of the Lord. You will hear a sermon which sets the meaning of salvation through Christ in the context of present hopes, fears, and needs.
The pattern for Lutheran worship as a congregation is called the liturgy. Liturgy means the “work of the people.” Liturgy is working with words and actions to honor God. As the Word of God is proclaimed and the sacraments are enacted among us, the Spirit touches our lives.
Be open to the Holy Spirit who will draw you into a congregation at worship as an active participant. Then liturgy will not be in a book or bulletin, but also in you. In the worship event, you can encounter God and God’s people as you listen, pray, praise, sing, and share in the sacraments.
One Act of Worship
The two principal parts of the liturgy of Holy Communion, the proclamation of the Word of God and the celebration of the sacramental meal, are so intimately connected as to form one act of worship.
The Word of God
Jesus Christ is the Word of God incarnate. The proclamation of God’s message to us is both Law and Gospel. The canonical Scriptures of the Old and New Testaments are the written Word of God.
Through this word in these forms, as through the sacraments, God gives faith, forgiveness of sins, and new life. The public reading of the Holy Scriptures is an indispensable part of worship, constituting the basis for the public proclamation of the Gospel. The preaching of the Gospel of the crucified and risen Christ is rooted in the readings of the Scriptures in the assemblies for worship.
Celebration of Holy Communion
The Lord’s Supper was instituted by Jesus Christ on the night of his betrayal. At the table of our Lord Jesus Christ, God nourishes faith, forgives sin, and calls us to be witnesses to the Gospel. In this sacrament the crucified and risen Christ is present, giving his true body and blood as food and drink. Here we receive Christ’s body and blood and God’s gifts of forgiveness of sin, life, and salvation for the strengthening of our faith. Admission to the Sacrament is by invitation of the Lord, presented through the Church to those who are baptized. All who believe that Jesus Christ is present are welcomed to the Lord’s Table.
Music in Worship
The Hymns and Songs of Worship
Music is a servant of the Gospel and a principle means of worshipping God in Lutheran churches. Congregational song gathers the whole people to proclaim God’s mercy, to worship God, and to pray in response to the readings of the day and in preparation for the Lord’s Supper.
Music serves the unity of the church. The church’s song embraces traditions from other times and places throughout the world as well as the particularity of a specific congregation in one time and place.
Music engages the whole community and the whole person. Music draws people together, making connections on many levels: spiritual, physical, social, emotional, and intellectual. The whole community and the individuals within it are moved to respond, “Let everything that breathes praise the Lord!”
Children in Worship
St. Matthew’s values the importance of children in worship. Children who come to church with their family become a part of the worshipping community by being part of the experience.
At St. Matthew’s we know:
- Children wiggle, get fussy and say unexpected things, all of which we accept.
- Small people can respond to the awe and beauty, sights and sounds that are part of the worship service even if they do not fully understand them.
- It is easier to understand that prayer is important when children see parents and others praying.
- Children learn that worship is about praising God through song, prayer, and offerings.
Worship and Christian Education are equally important to a child’s and adult’s knowledge and love of God.
- Worship and Christian education are equally important to a child’s and adult’s knowledge and love of God.
From the time children arrive into our families, we begin to guide their growth and development. We teach our children to love and trust, to communicate, to play and work with others.
Just as we teach our children how to talk or eat with the family, we also need to help them learn how to worship. The primary way we do this is by taking our children to church and worshipping with them so they can learn by example.
Luke 18:15-16 tells us that Jesus welcomed babies and children who were brought to him. Christians continue to believe that Jesus’ love awaits children who are brought to church today.
Welcome to Worship!