As believers, Christ is at the center of everything we do. This is especially true when believers gather together for worship. Without Christ, we would have no reason to gather for worship. We would be separated from God and each other. We would cower in shame in the presence of God. But Christ, our Savior, has restored our relationship with God. This fact brings us two-fold joy. We open our hearts to receive his saving and empowering gospel. We also open our arms to offer to Christ our thanks, our lives, our everything.
This cycle of receiving from God and giving to God characterizes each of our lives. It also characterizes the way we worship when we gather together. To accomplish this, we use a form of worship that traces its roots to the apostles themselves. It’s called liturgical worship.
Christ is at the center of liturgical worship. Some parts of the liturgy stay the same each Sunday. This is to make sure that Christ is proclaimed and praised during every service. Some parts of the liturgy change every week. These changes are based on the appointed calendar of the church. This calendar makes sure that we cover the important events and teachings of Christ every year.
To learn more about liturgical worship at Immanuel, choose one of the following categories:
The church year ensures we cover the important events and teachings of Christ every year.
The church year begins with Advent at the end of November and spans the next four weeks before Christmas. Advent means “coming” and is a time of quiet reflection in preparation for the coming of Christmas and the coming of Christ at the end of the world.
For twelve days we celebrate the coming of God as a man to save us.
Epiphany is a Greek word that means “appearing.” We remember the appearing of the star to the wise men, telling us that Christ is the Savior of all nations. We also see Christ appearing to his disciples, making himself known as the promised Savior as he begins his ministry.
Lent is time for humble and solemn meditation on the seriousness of our sins and the depth of Christ’s love for us that he took those sins upon himself.
The sorrow of Lent is broken by the triumphant celebration of Easter, the highest of holy days for Christians. We rejoice in the victory of the risen Christ over all of our enemies.
The season of Pentecost begins 50 days after Easter and covers the remaining half of the church year. During Pentecost we focus on the teachings of Christ and their application to us.
- What do the different colors we use in church mean?
What are the parts of the liturgy?
Every service begins “in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.” These are the same words spoken at your baptism. They are a reminder that we enter God’s presence to worship him because we were made his children through baptism.
- Confession and Absolution
In every service we humbly confess our sins to God and then gladly hear his proclamation that each and every one of them has been forgiven. It’s included in every service because we can never hear those amazing, comforting words too often.
- Song of Praise
In response to the forgiveness given so freely to us, we join our voices in a song of praise to God.
- Prayer of the Day
We pray the appointed prayer for that Sunday of the church year. The prayer fits with the theme for the day.
- First Lesson
The first lesson is usually taken from the Old Testament. Many times we will hear about a prophecy that was fulfilled by Christ in the Gospel lesson for the day.
- Psalm of the Day
For 3,000 years believers have worshiped God by singing and reciting psalms.
- Second Lesson
The second lesson is usually taken from the Epistles—the part of the New Testament after the Gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John. Typically they apply God’s Word specifically to the believer’s life.
- Verse of the Day
A short song of praise to God, based on the theme of the day, that thanks God for and prepares us to hear the Gospel lesson.
- The Gospel
The entire service revolves around the Gospel lesson. We stand to hear the words of Christ our King, just like people stood in the presence of royalty in ancient times.
The pastor preaches a message based on one of the lessons or the gospel for the day. The sermon teaches how God’s word applies to our Christian life.
- Confession of Faith
After the sermon we proclaim what we believe—what the Christian Church has always believed. To do that we use the words of the Nicene and Apostles’ Creeds—both of which have been used in the Christian Church for almost two millennia.
- Prayer of the Church
We join to pray to God about specific joys and troubles in our church and in the Church around the world. This is followed by the Lord’s Prayer.
- Lord’s Supper
The Lord’s Supper is offered on the first and third Sundays of the month. We, united with our brothers and sisters in the faith, approach God’s altar to receive the body and blood of Christ for the forgiveness of our sins and the strengthening of our faith.
We then receive the same blessing that God gave to the ancient Israelites.
The pastor’s vestment teaches an important spiritual lesson.
The robe, which is called an alb, is designed to cover the pastor’s body and clothing, taking the focus off of the pastor and reminding worshipers that he is a representative of God. The white robe also reminds us of the robe of righteousness that Christ has wrapped around us.
That colored cloth is called a stole. The stole is a historical symbol of the pastoral ministry. It is a reminder to the pastor and the congregation of the yoke of humble service that God has placed upon his shoulders.