We gather to celebrate the life we all share in
Christ. Our worship is
relaxed, with a contemporary setting offered once a month.
At Peace, children play an important role in the service.
From acolytes to readers, they are recognized as being part
of the priesthood we all share in Christ through our
baptism. Among these roles is the Blue Box time, when a
child brings forward an item placed in the blue box. With
the children gathered around, the pastor must make an
off-the-cuff message on what this item says about God and
us. The parents call it "stump the Pastor!" The gentle touch
of God is offered every communion service with the laying-on-of-hands
and prayer. For an in-depth look at worship, click
How do Lutherans worship?
"Tradition is the living faith of those long dead.
Traditionalism is the dead faith of those still living."
With this in mind, Lutheran worship is based on ancient
practices going back over 2000 years, yet we remain fresh
and relevant through contemporary elements and music.
Lutheran Worship is Liturgical, a word which means
"work of the people". The congregation never simply observes
the service, but participates in it through responsive
prayer, music and dialogue.
Lutheran worship is Sacramental. A sacrament is a
visible sign of God's grace, instituted by Christ. We have
two sacraments: Baptism and Holy Communion. The first
incorporates one into the Body of Christ, the church, while
the second nourishes and sustains faith in this family. We
therefor practice child communion with consultation with the
parents. Communion is offered on the first and third Sundays
of the month at Peace, to all the baptized no matter the
Lutheran Worship is Musical. Music is among the
greatest strengths of our heritage, and we strive to
incorporate traditional and contemporary hymns using a
variety of instruments to compliment the human voice.
Lutheran Worship is Ecumenical. We believe that we
are part of the worldwide Christian community, and we join
with all people in praise of God through Christ the Savior.
Worship in Detail
The words and actions through which Lutherans worship God
are many and varied. Representing a variety of ethnic groups
and patterns of piety, Lutheran congregations are seldom
identical in the way they worship. Still, for most
Lutherans, certain facts hold true:
1. Lutheran worship is liturgical, following a common
order of service adopted by the Church.
2. Lutheran worship is biblical. It has roots in the life
of the Old Testament people and of the New Testament Church.
It uses the language of Scripture and celebrates the
3. Lutheran worship employs the historic heritage of
Christian worship common to major branches of the Church, as
it has developed over 20 centuries.
4. In the spirit of the Reformation, Lutherans worship in
the contemporary language of the people. Lay persons, as
well as the clergy, participate actively in appropriate
5. Lutheran worship employs the arts---musical and
visual---as gifts from God to be used to God's glory and for
the instruction of God's people.
Most North American Lutherans use the Lutheran Book of
Worship as their liturgical guide. It provides resources for
a rich life of congregational and personal prayer, centered
in the Service of Holy Communion. This document will help
you understand and participate in this central Service of
Word and Sacrament.
In most churches, an organ prelude begins the worship.
This is not just to establish a "mood," but is itself an
offering---a creation of artistic talent for God's glory.
The music is often related to the liturgical theme of the
day or season, such as a chorale prelude on one of the hymns
to be sung. During this time, worshippers may listen, offer
personal prayers in silence, or meditate on appropriate
literature, including the psalms and lessons for the day.
Confession and Forgiveness
A brief order of spiritual preparation frequently
precedes the Service proper so that with "clean hands and a
pure heart" we may "stand in the holy place" of the Lord
(Psalm 24). We remember our Baptism by invoking the Name of
the Triune God, and perhaps by making the sign of the cross
which was first given us in the baptismal rite. In response
to a scriptural invitation, we confess our sin and ask for
pardon. The presiding minister reminds us of divine mercy
and declares us forgiven in the name of God who made us
children in Holy Baptism.
The Ministry of the Word
The Entrance Rite
We begin the Service with a Hymn or Psalm while the
leaders of worship (and often the choir) go to their places.
Then the presiding minister greets the assembled
congregation in words similar to those used by the apostles
in addressing early Christian churches (see Romans 1:7).
Because worship is not a solo performance by the minister,
but an activity of the people, here and elsewhere in the
liturgy, the congregation responds to the
In the Kyrie, we greet our Lord as people of old greeted
a king when he came to their city. In a series of petitions,
a minister asks for peace and salvation for ourselves and
the world, the people joining in the response, "Lord, have
mercy" (in Greek, Kyrie eleison).
The Hymn of Praise which follows expresses our joy for
the gifts which our Lord brings. "Glory to God in the
highest" is an ancient song which begins with the angels'
Christmas carol (Luke 2:14) and swells into a profound
adoration of the Holy Trinity. An alternative is "This is
the feast," a modern song based on phrases from the Book of
The Prayer of the Day marks the conclusion of the
entrance rite. It is brief, focusing on a central theme for
a particular Sunday or holy day. Like several other prayers
in the liturgy, it is introduced by a greeting and response
in which minister and people ask the Lord's presence upon
each other. We make this prayer our own by responding
The Scripture Readings
The Word of God in Holy Scripture has always been a major
element of Christian worship. Several Christian bodies,
Lutherans (and Anglicans) among them, use a three-year
lectionary. Three Scripture lessons are usually read at each
service, interspersed with other biblical passages. The
First Lesson is usually a selection from the Old Testament,
the Hebrew Scriptures. This is followed by a Psalm, one of
the hymns of the Old Testament.
The Second Lesson is usually a portion of one of the New
Testament epistles or letters to the churches. It is
followed by the Verse, a brief poetic excerpt from either
Old or New Testament.
The climax of the readings is the Gospel, a section of
the books that record the words and deeds of Jesus. Each of
the first three Gospels (Matthew, Mark, Luke) is primarily
associated with one year of the three-year cycle of lessons,
while the Fourth Gospel (John) is found among the readings
during all three years. We stand to hear the Gospel, for our
Lord's own words are spoken. An acclamation of praise to
Christ precedes and follows it.
Sermon, Hymn, Creed
The Church's response to and interpretation of the Word
of God follows the Scripture readings. The Sermon, usually
based on one or more of the lessons, is a living witness of
the Gospel, expounding the Word and applying it to our own
times and conditions.
The Hymn of the Day, which may be sung before or after
the Sermon, fits the theme of the lessons and sermon. It is
taken from the Church's rich treasury of poetry and music by
which many generations of believers have offered praise to
God and witness to their faith.
The Creed embodies the Church's ancient and universal
confession of faith in God the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.
The Nicene Creed or the Apostles' Creed may be used,
depending upon the season of the church year.
Prayers of thanksgiving and intercession for the needs of
the Church, of society, and a wide variety of individuals
form a fitting conclusion to the Ministry of the Word. These
prayers vary from service to service according to
circumstances of time and place. The people enter into the
petitions through the frequent reponse: "Hear our prayer,"
or "Lord, have mercy."
The Ministry of the Sacrament
Peace, Offertory, Offering
In an upper room in Jerusalem, Jesus ate the Passover
meal with his disciples and instituted the Lord's Supper,
saying "Do this for the remembrance of me." (1 Corinthians
11:24) After Easter, the risen Christ "was known to them in
the breaking of bread" (Luke 24:35). We are brought together
by our obedience to Christ's command and our need for
Christ's continuing presence in the Sacrament. As we begin
the communion rite, ministers and people share the Peace
with one another through words and gestures. The Book of
Worship notes, "The peace which enables people to live in
unity and the spirit of mutual forgiveness comes only from
Christ whose Word has been proclaimed. Without the intention
to live in such unity, participation in the sacramental
celebration is a mockery." The Offering of the people is
gathered as the altar table is made ready for the Lord's
Supper. Offerings of money are given as an expression of
love and gratitude for God's blessings. Along with these
gifts, bread and wine for Holy
Communion are frequently brought forward and presented.
An Offertory canticle, hymn, or psalm is sung by
congregation or choir. Ministers and people join in a brief
prayer of offering.
The Great Thanksgiving
Just as Jesus at table with his disciples offered thanks
in accordance with Jewish practice, so we embody in our
celebration of Christ's Supper a great prayer of
thanksgiving. It begins with a Preface in which the
presiding minister bids us lift our hearts to God and give
thanks. Then a Proper
Preface states the particular reason for thanksgiving
appropriate to the day or season. This leads to a climax in
which we join in the canticle "Holy, holy, holy." Here we
unite with the heavenly hosts (Isaiah 6:3) and with the
Church on earth (Matthew 21:9) to adore God and to welcome
the Savior who came for our redemption and who now comes to
us in the Sacrament. The Great Thanksgiving may continue
with the Eucharistic Prayer in which the history of God's
salvation is recounted. The scriptural words which tell of
Jesus' institution of the Sacrament are recited, in order to
consecrate the Bread and the Cup. We pray for the coming of
the Holy Spirit that we might be prepared rightly to receive
the Body and Blood of Christ which, according to his
promise, are now truly present in Holy Communion. Then we
say our distinctive prayer of fellowship in Christ, the
Lord's Prayer, which is here also our table prayer.
All is now ready for our Holy Communion with Christ and
the members of Christ's Body the Church. As the consecrated
elements are distributed to the communicants, we sing a
hymn, "Lamb of God" (John 1:29) as a confession of who it is
we are receiving and as a prayer for the blessings of
forgiveness, life, and salvation which Christ has promised
to give us. Other hymns may also mark our communion
devotion. "The Body of Christ, given for you; the Blood of
Christ, shed for you," the ministers say as they give the
Sacrament to the people.
The Post Communion
As the Lord's table is cleared, we sing a song of
rejoicing. This may be the biblical "Lord, now you let your
servant go in peace" (Luke 2:29-32), in which Simeon
rejoiced that he had seen Christ, a joy we share because we
have received Christ in the Sacrament. A final Prayer asks
that we may carry out in our lives the implications of Holy
Communion. The presiding minister pronounces a Blessing
using either a formula similar to the one that began the
Service or the Aaronic benediction from the Old Testament
(Numbers 6:24-26). A minister speaks words of Dismissal,
telling us to "Go in peace. Serve the Lord." in daily life,
which is also a worship of God. We respond with a shout:
"Thanks be to God."
This, very briefly, is how Lutherans worship. The Service
points us consistently to the saving work and resurrection
presence of Jesus Christ. In it God speaks and gives to us;
we respond with thanks and praise. Such worship links us in
the fellowship of the saints through the centuries. We use
forms developed by believers in various periods of history,
all of them growing out of the saving ministry of Jesus
Christ and designed to be appropriate vehicles of Christ's
Word and Sacrament.