It may come as a shock to you, but all churches have a “liturgy.” This word simply means an order of doing things. No matter what church you’ve visited, that church has a general pattern or order that utilize when they approach God in worship.
At WRC, we believe that the way we worship should echo Scripture and re-enforce its teaching. In other words, our goal is not to manipulate your emotions.
The Bible clearly demonstrates that God is the One to initiate covenants with man, whether that was in the Garden, with Abraham, through Moses, or in the New Covenant. Man, then, becomes God’s covenant partner, but only as a recipient and image-bearer, never as God’s equal. Therefore, our worship is “responsive” – God initiates with us through His covenantal word, and we respond to Him in confession, prayer, and song. In other words, worship is “dialogical”. For more on this, see Worship Services and Why is your liturgy so old-fashioned?
Our liturgy varies slightly from week-to-week. You can find a sample bulletin here (pdf). Below is an explanation of what we do in worship
God Lifts Us Into His Presence
Just as we would not barge into the Oval Office or a King’s throne room, we await God’s summons and invitation in the Call to Worship. This is a Scripture text that commands us to worship. Given that we are not able to worship God in our own power and strength, we then invoke His help with a short prayer. God responds by greeting us. Thankfully, He greets us in “Grace and peace,” not in justice and the condemnation we deserve, so we sing a song a praise.
- Call to Worship
- God’s Greeting
God Renews His Baptismal Promise
After entering the presence of our Covenant Lord, it’s important that we’re reminded of our exact standing, so we first hear His Law read to us. The Law speaks justice and righteousness, so we are reminded of our ongoing rebellion and respond by confessing our sins to Him. Thankfully, God has not left us under the Law. He has sent Christ to fulfill its demands for us, so we then hear a reading of Gospel comfort and respond by confessing our faith. Our minister, then, pronounces God’s pardon upon those that trust in Christ, so we answer God by singing His praise. Being washed of our sins is the promise of Baptism, which promise is renewed during this part of the service.
- Reading of Law
- Confession of Sins
- Reading of Gospel
- Confession of Faith
God Speaks (and Seals) His Covenant Word
In our Worship Service, our minister ordinarily preaches through a book of the Bible, in order to teach us more about the covenant that God has made with us. (In our Catechism Service, we learn key doctrines of the Christian faith.) After hearing God’s word read and preached, we respond by praying and singing. The Lord’s Supper, a sign and seal of the covenant, is celebrated weekly. Just like God had the first word in our service, He also gets the last word, sending us forth with His blessing in the Benediction.
- Scripture Reading
- Prayer of Application
- Lord’s Supper