Why are we reading from these books in front of us?
What happened to my bulletin? The words are all gone!
The bulletin today contains only an outline of the service so that we can find our place. The words of our worship service can be found in the brown book in the pews in front of you, with a gold cross on the upper right of the front cover, called the “Lutheran Service Book.” It might look like just a hymnal, but it’s actually so much more. It also includes things such as a daily Bible reading plan, prayers for private devotions, most of the Psalms, the Small Catechism (which summarizes what our church believes), and orders for prayer as individuals or groups. It truly is an all-in-one worship and devotional resource for church and home. If you open this book to page 184, you will find today’s order of service. The pattern of worship we follow is called the “Divine Service,” and it can be done with different musical versions. These different versions are called “settings,” and the setting we are using today is “Divine Service 3.” This is the old, familiar, and sentimental version that many in our parish grew up with and dates back almost 150 years. You will notice many of the things being sung have Latin names, such as the Kyrie, Gloria, Sanctus, and Agnus Dei. Printed right alongside is musical notation to show us how they are sung. Don’t read music? No problem! Just follow the words, and let the sound of the choir, pastor, and organ lead you through the different parts of the liturgy. Don’t worry, you don’t even have to sing it if you’re not comfortable. The important thing is that we pray these words. A wise old man once said “He who sings prays twice.” The reason we sing all these different songs together is so that we can pray with one voice as a way to worship God when we gather to hear his Word and receive the Sacraments. These ancient prayers, some dating to before Christ even, have been prayed by the church together for centuries as a way of simultaneously expressing what we believe about God and helping us to form those convictions more strongly over time as we pray them. You will find that the God we pray to is one who is glorious and holy, yet he loves to show mercy and take away the sin of the world.