The Divine Service
Why do we call the worship service the Divine Service?
Because the we gather in Church primarily to be served by God Himself (the Divine Lord). Our thanksgiving and praise is not the main thing on Sunday morning... it's our response to His blessed service to us!
We gather in the Lord's House to receive what only God can give us, namely, the forgiveness of sins, life, and salvation! We come together, not so much to give, but to receive from God. What can we give God? God doesn't need anything! Read Psalm 50 and see!
Even more, our dear Lord, Jesus Christ, has said, "For even the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and give His life as a ransom for many" (Mk 10:45). Christ gives the gifts that He won on the cross 2,000 years ago to us today! He deigns Himself to be with us and forgive all of our sins. It is for this reason that the crucifixion and resurrection of Christ are the centers of our preaching. As St. Paul says, "for I decided to know nothing among you except Jesus Christ and Him crucified" (1 Cor 2:2). Even more, the focus of the hymns and sermons are on Christ's Work of laying His life down for the world; for this reason, "we preach Christ crucified" (1 Cor 1:23)
This then is the rhythm of worship: It begins with God's Word and forgiveness and blessing, and then we respond in faith, thanksgiving, and prayer. But, the chief purpose of worship is to receive the forgiveness of sins, and we do.
It's for this reason that we worship the way we do: God is truly present. Why? Because where His Word is, there He is also. So, worship is not about us, but God; it's not about our preference but about reverence. You will notice four very unique attributes in the Divine Service:
If you are a "Bible-believing Christian" then you need to come to this Service! No fluff. Just God's Word! The Words in the Divine Service are taken directly from Scripture. We begin by calling on the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit with the Invocation (Mt 28). The Kyrie (Ps 123; Luke 17), the Gloria in Excelsis (Lk 2), the Creed, the Offertory (Ps 51), the Sanctus (Isaiah 6), the Agnus Dei (Jn 1), the Verba Domini (Mt 26, Mk 14, Lk 22, 1 Cor 11), the Lord's Prayer (Mt 6), the Nunc Dimittis (Lk 2), and even the final words of the service, the Aaronic Benediction (Numbers 6), are all taken from Holy Scripture! We read from the Old Testament, the Psalm, the Epistle, and the Gospels every service! The hymns are also based on the Word (usually on the Scripture readings for the day!) The sermon is always explicitly drawn from Holy Scripture.
You cannot be a Christian without Christ! In service, the person, word, and work of Jesus Christ always takes center stage. God the Father sends His only begotten Son to us, Christ dies and resurrects for our salvation, and the Holy Spirit calls us by the Gospel! He does the work of forgiveness, and comforting! Christ is not merely mentioned, but truly present! In the service, you won't only hear that Christ is your example, but you will hear that He is your Savior! He is not only with you but for you! He is present every service with His Word! That's why we go to church!
The Liturgy of the service is formal. That's because the service is planned and deliberate. It is not spontaneous. See 1 Corinthians 14:33-40. We take God's Word seriously, and we truly believe that God is present. We do not seek to entertain or mimic the culture. We are no looking to grow the church through gimmicks, stunts, and fads. We look to revere God and His Word, knowing that it is more precious than all the silver and gold in this world. We are not gathering to be in popular in the sight of our culture or society. Even more, the point is not pomp and circumstance. Rather, our reverence is driven directly by our conviction that God Himself is present in His Body and Blood for us, and that He truly listens to our prayers. It's not about our preference, but about reverence.
Every Sunday, you will hear God's Law (His commandments) and God's Gospel (His promises to us). You will be discomfited to hear about your sin; but, you will also hear be comforted to hear how Christ has redeemed you and forgiven you. You will never hear God's Law without also hearing His Gospel. For this reason, the Divine Service is comforting: we are killed by His Law, but even more we are resurrected by His Gospel! Our hope in ourselves and in the things of this world dies, and thus our hope and faith in Christ grow ever stronger. You will never come and leave St. Paul without hearing about the forgiveness of every one of your sins through Christ Jesus our Lord, given by grace through faith alone.
5. THE LORD'S SUPPER
The Lord's Supper (the Sacrament of the Altar) is celebrated at the main services of the week every week. We believe that heavenly feast of the Lord's Body and Blood is the climax of the Divine Service. Thus the Lord's Supper is offered at every Thursday and Sunday service and also again at all major festivals of the Church (Christmas, Easter, etc.). And yes, out of love for one another, we DO practice Closed Communion. Please see our Visitors page for more information about how this works and why.