The Christian Liturgy

The Divine Service – The Preface and Proper Preface

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A few weeks ago, we considered the nature, importance, and value of the Lord's Supper. It is important to understand this as we continue now with the Service of Holy Communion. We begin with what is called the Preface, which is a series of responses between the Pastor and the ... Continue

The Divine Service – The Exhortation

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In our last article, we considered the Prayer of the Church as a response to God's forgiveness heard and given in the Scripture readings, the Creed, and the Sermon. In this article, we will consider our preparation to receive the Lord's Supper. The Lord's Supper is not just a remembrance meal, ... Continue

The Divine Service – The Prayer of the Church

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In the last article, we considered two ways in which we respond to God's gifts of forgiveness, life, and salvation as heard and given through the Scripture lessons, the Creed, and the Sermon: the Offertory (a prayer confessing both our sins and our trust in God's salvation) and the Offering. ... Continue

The Divine Service – The Offertory and Offering

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 Coming on the heals of the delivery of the sermon, there is often a doxology (a short expression of praise) to the Triune God and a blessing of peace given by the pastor to those in attendance. After these have been given, the congregation then joins together to sing a ... Continue

The Divine Service – The Alleluia and Gospel Lesson

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 The “Alleluia” is a very short three-fold expression of joy sung in anticipation of the Gospel Lesson that we are about to hear in the Divine Service. The word “alleluia” comes from the Hebrew, meaning “praise Yah[weh].” It is used often in the Psalms, and increasingly so as one gets ... Continue

The Divine Service – The New Testament Lesson

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In the last article, we spoke about the Gradual, a selection of psalm verses used as a response to the Old Testament Lesson and in anticipation of the New Testament Lesson (sometimes called the Epistle Lesson [“epistle” is the Greek word for “letter”] since most of the New Testament Lessons ... Continue

The Divine Service – The Gradual

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In our last article, we talked about the Old Testament (OT) Lesson. This is the first Scripture reading of the Service of the Word. Like Mary (Martha's sister), we sat down and listened to God speak to us (Luke 10:38-42). Before we go on to the next reading, the New ... Continue

The Divine Service – The Old Testament Lesson

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If you imagine the Christian liturgy as a trek up a mountain, we have come to the first of the two great summits: the Service of the Word. While we have been hearing and responding to the Word throughout the liturgy, now we take time to just sit and reflect ... Continue