Meeting with God
Into His Presence: God Speaks, We Respond
The worship service begins with God calling us to worship Him. We respond with songs of praise. Then we are reminded of the holy requirements of God’s law – a reminder that calls attention to the fact that we fail to keep His law perfectly. So we confess our sins to God. Having confessed our guilt, we then hear the good news of God’s pardon in Christ from His Word. We respond again with a song of praise and thanksgiving for the saving work of God for us. This is followed by extended readings from both the Old and New Testaments. Typically these readings are related to the sermon and its Biblical text. We respond again in song. Next we confess our faith together by reciting either the Apostles’ Creed, the Nicene Creed, or some part of the Westminster Shorter Catechism. This is followed by a pastoral prayer which is concluded by the congregation praying the Lord’s Prayer together. The sermon is next, and is immediately followed each Sunday by the celebration of the Lord’s Supper.
At this point in the service, we have heard God call us to worship, been reminded of His holy law, been assured that we are pardoned in Christ, heard God speak to us through both Old and New Testaments, confessed our faith together publicly before God and man, heard God speak to us through the sermon, and celebrated the sacrament that He gave us. At this point in the service we also have responded at various times by singing some psalm, hymn or spiritual song. So we close out the worship service with one final song of praise, hearing God’s blessing upon us as we go.
Come into His Presence with Singing
And here is a typical worship bulletin that reflects the kind of variety and quality of music we desire: Aug. 9, 2009. The first hymn is full of praise, with lyrics from 1982 and music from a famous classical piece of music, Holst’s The Planets. The second hymn is Psalm 80 set to a well known Welsh melody. The third is a wonderful contemporary song/hymn. The fourth is a classic hymn: The Church’s One Foundation. And the final song is another well known tune, with lyrics from the 7th Century. This variety of music and lyrics reflects the wonderful heritage of the church throughout history, with lyrics that are biblically sound. We sing regularly from the Bible’s songbook: the Psalms.