Our Lord is the Lord who serves. Jesus Christ came into the flesh not to be served, but to serve and to give His life as a ransom for many.
-Introduction to Lutheran Service Book
At St. John’s we worship using the historic liturgy. Liturgy derives from the word leitourgia, which was a word in the ancient world to describe the service of an individual on behalf of the public. It is not merely an order of service. In the historic Christian liturgy, the individual who provides the service is our Lord, Jesus Christ, and service is provided through His Word and Sacraments. Therefore, worship is called Divine Service, because it is where God comes to us to give His gifts.
Historically, the liturgy has been organized around two services, the services of Word and Sacrament, along with five biblical canticles, each narrating a step in our journey from earth to heaven. These twin services and five canticles are surrounded by rituals of preparation, transition, and sending. All together, these elements comprise the historic backbone of Christian worship since its earliest days.
Both Word and Sacrament reach their respective climaxes in the proclamation and distribution of the Gospel, or, the forgiveness of sins. The Service of the Word peaks with the reading of the Holy Gospel and its application in the Sermon. The Service of the Sacrament reaches its high point in the proclamation of The Words of Our Lord and the Distribution of the Lord’s Supper.
The five great canticles are the Kyrie (Lord, have mercy; Mark 10:47), which acknowledges our unworthiness to be in God’s presence and that He comes to us with His mercy and grace, and is immediately followed by the song of the angels, the Gloria in Excelsis (Glory to God in the Highest, Luke 2:14; John 1:29). The central canticle of the liturgy is the Creed, which summarizes the person and work of God, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. In the Service of the Sacrament, we again join our song with the song of the angels in the Sanctus (Holy, holy, holy; Isaiah 6:3; Matthew 21:9). Finally, the voice of the one who prepares the way of the Lord, John the Baptist, lends his words to our song in the Agnus Dei (Lamb of God, John 1:29).
Pastor Bryan Wolfmueller walks through the basics of using a Lutheran hymnal.