Christian worship joyfully ascribes all praise and honor, glory and power to the triune God [God the Father, God the Son (Jesus Christ), and God the Holy Spirit]. In worship the people of God acknowledge God present in the world and in their lives. As they respond to God’s claim and redemptive action in Jesus Christ, believers are transformed and renewed. In worship the faithful offer themselves to God and are equipped for God’s service in the world. - Constitution of the Presbyterian Church (USA)
Put another way: we give our whole lives over to the whole God and recognize and celebrate the presence of God in our whole lives. We respond to what Jesus Christ has done for us and for the world and know that our lives have radically changed because of the person and work of Jesus Christ. We offer ourselves in service to God.
All of that is definitely true and yet we fall short of getting it right. While we don’t often like to proclaim that we don’t do things right in our lives we actually are called to come worship God out of admitting that we don’t get it right! We come to worship because we know that God does get it right and we praise him for welcoming us into his presence. Jesus Christ takes our efforts at worship and turns it into glorious praise before God the Father - our worship is holy and pleasing before God.
We come to worship to be transformed and celebrate transformation. In Jesus Christ, we know that we have a new life. We aren’t stuck in our old habits and our old ways of thinking. We don’t have to play by the same depressing rules. We are freed to have our joy in Christ! When we come together to praise God or to be in the presence of others praising God, we are opening ourselves up to the Holy Spirit working in our lives - we are being opened to letting our old identity go and being given a new identity in Christ.
We do this in old and new ways. There are hymns and spiritual songs contained in the Bible. Interestingly, the words are often closer to what we consider hymns today, but the instruments and way they would have been sung are closer to what we consider praise songs today. Some of us connect with formality, some of us connect with i. Whatever style of worship God is calling you to engage in (probably all of them!), we want to welcome you and know that you have a spiritual home in our communal worship.
In all of our worship we seek to be focused on Christ and His Word and organize our worship on what is commanded of us in Scripture!
Why Do We Do That in Worship?
In this section, we will try to briefly shed some light on why we do what we do in our times of communal worship. All of our times of worship include something along these lines. You’ll notice that a theme throughout is that we do these things because we find God’s call to do them in the Bible.
Call to Worship Our call to worship is a summons from God to come and worship Him. We are called and reminded to be faithful to the call we have to give all glory to God the Father through Jesus Christ. We use passages directly from or inspired by the Bible.
Singing and Music Whether hymns or praise songs or whatever you like to call them, we sing so that we can make melody to the ears of God. Music and singing are very expressive forms of communication that we have been given to express all manners of praise - through joy and through sorrow. We are told in Ephesians 5:19-20 to “be filled with the Spirit, as you sing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs among yourselves, singing and making melody to the Lord in your hearts, giving thanks to God the Father at all times and for everything in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.” We encourage you to sing loudly and boldly and let it make a sweet sound to our God!
Prayer of Confession and Assurance of Pardon We confess our sins together that we may confess that Jesus is Lord and Savior and that we need his salvation. We take this time to unburden ourselves of the sin that weighs us down as a community and as individuals just as Jesus taught us in the Lord’s Prayer. We are then assured that because of the work of Jesus Christ and through our faith in Him that all our sins are forgiven.
Sharing in the Peace of Christ This is a tangible way that we show that we are at peace with one another. We have God’s peace through Jesus Christ and we extend this peace to others to show that we are united and that nothing stands between us.
Scripture Reading We read passages from both the Old and New Testaments because the whole Bible is God’s Word written to us and for us and is useful so that we will know of God’s love for and actions in the world, the salvation we have in Christ, and the presence of the Holy Spirit amongst us. 2 Timothy 3:16-17 tells us that, “All scripture is inspired by God and is useful for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, so that everyone who belongs to God may be proficient, equipped for every good work.
Sermon We have the sermon so that the pastor can have a job. Not really. God calls us to proclaim the Word that all may believe because the Good News of Jesus Christ is heard. We mine the scriptures so that we may be transformed by and live our lives according to the Living Word Jesus Christ.
Offering The offering is a time to live into the commands of scripture to return what we have been blessed with to the Body of Christ - the Church. It is a time to commit our time, talent, and resources to living a Christ-centered life in the community of the Church Universal.
Prayers of the People We are called by God to be a people that are in regular communication with Him and we call this prayer. It is a time to adore God, thank God, and ask that God be active in particular situations in our world and in our lives. We invite you to verbally lift up a prayer to God that our whole community might join you in that prayer - the heart behind the prayer is more important than the words!