Having Sunday mornings free has been interesting. It has afforded me time to visit different churches in Wichita. This past Sunday Ginger, Avery and I went to a Lutheran church near our home. We wanted to test drive what it would be like to go to the nearest church, as many probably do on a weekly basis.
This was my first time in a Lutheran church, but I had an idea of what to expect. The congregation had close to 30 people at worship on Sunday morning, so it was easy to figure out that we were visiting. The interactions with the congregation were genuine and sincere. The church has been in a bit of financial stress and the leaders were honest and open about it.
Perhaps my favorite part was the whole liturgy that we did on Sunday morning. Here is the overview of what we did in worship:
Welcome from Psalm 145
Words of Assurance and Forgiveness
Prayer of the Day
Reading from Jonah 3:10-4:11
Reading from Psalm 145:1-8
Reading from Philippians 1:21-30
Gospel Reading from Matthew 20:1-16
Prayers for the People
Introduction to the Meal (Communion)
Sharing the Peace
The Great Thanksgiving
Prayer of Thanksgiving
The Lord’s Prayer
Invitation to the Table
Song for Communion
The Lord’s Supper
The Communion Blessing
All of that was “done” in 1 hour.
As we went through the liturgy, I recognized something about worship. The common temptation for a worshipper today is to come to church and wonder what the worship team and pastoral staff is going to bring “to them.” The posture can be, at times, spectator-driven. What I found myself doing yesterday, however, was reminding myself to pay attention to the songs, the readings, the prayers, and the confessions. “This is important,” I would remind myself, “keep yourself open to God and others in this worship service.”
The time it took to get through the readings from Scripture alone were as long as the sermon; we were confronted (and comforted) by the words of God. It was a meaningful experience.
Liturgy can be defined as “the work of the people”. Stunning image, isn’t it? Instead of 5% active and 95% spectating, this form of liturgy, and countless others, attempt to create an environment where the body of Christ is in worship. During Communion, the apex of the service, members from the congregation were allowed to help serve the elements. What an honor that must have been for the families chosen to help serve.