Here are a few key features of our worship to help you understand what is happening as you worship with us today.
A Meeting with God
First and foremost we believe that when we assemble together as a congregation it is for the purpose of meeting face-to-face with our gracious Triune God: “Through [Christ] we…have access in one Spirit to the Father” (Eph. 2:18). As Jesus taught, “When two or three are gathered in my name, there am I among them” (Matt. 18:20). In our meeting with our God, there is a two-way dialog: God graciously speaks to us in his Word and sacraments (baptism and Lord’s Supper) and we gratefully speak to him in prayers, songs, and offerings.
The way in which this dialog is organized is call a “liturgy” [order of service]. We trust that you will see that our liturgy is saturated with the Holy Bible—from the opening call to worship, to the Scripture responses, to the reading of the Word, to the songs we sing, and all the way through the concluding benediction. All that is said and sung in our worship is Scripture or expressions of Scriptural truth.
We do not presume to have invented Christian worship. Instead, we follow the basic pattern of ancient Christian worship: Entering God’s Presence, The Word, Communion, and Sending Into the World. One way we are united with our forefathers is by utilizing forms of prayer, creeds, and responses that the historic Christian church—that “great cloud of witnesses” (Heb. 12:1)—has used from one generation to another generation. In responding this way, we exercise our spiritual priesthood and offer up the spiritual sacrifices of praise and thanksgiving (Heb. 13:15; 1 Peter 2:5).
Centrality of the Word & Sacraments
We want you to notice that the majority of our time together in worship is taken up with the reading and preaching of the Word of God and the celebration of the sacraments—baptism (whenever children of members are born or new converts have been instructed) and the Lord’s Supper (every Lord’s Day morning). The reason for this is that these are the main ways that the Holy Spirit promises to create and confirm our faith in Jesus Christ (Rom. 10:17).
Singing Ancient Songs
Finally, you will notice that we primarily sing versifications of the Psalms of the Old Testament. These were sung for a thousand years in anticipation of the coming of Christ and we sing them knowing that he has come. We also sing songs, both ancient and recent, that are in accord with the teaching of Scripture. This not only gives us a sense of transcendence as we sing what God’s people have sung for hundreds and thousands of years, but also gives us the ability to express ourselves through all the joys and sorrows of the Christian life in a meaningful way. For more, see this article from Pastor Hyde.
O come, let us worship!