A narrative worship on liturgy

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Narrative Service

First St Johns  Sep 16, 2012


Today our worship has a special purpose. We focus not just on our Triune God; Father, Son and Holy Spirit, we are going to examine with our regular members and guests to better understand and appreciate what our gracious Lord gives us through this way of  worship which we call, “liturgy” or “liturgical worship” or “the Divine Service”. Instead of a sermon in the middle of the service, there will be short explanations of the service throughout the service. We will hear how this Divine Service proclaims the central, essential message of the Bible: that we are forgiven sinners, redeemed by our Lord Jesus Christ. This worship was conceived, designed and delivered by Rev Dr. Mark Smith who I would like to thank for passing this on to me for us to do here at First St Johns.

Many people think of worship as what WE do for God. But actually, what happens here is first about GOD doing for US. This liturgy that we’re about to do is the framework for GOD coming to us, to serve US with the gifts of His eternal life through His preached Word, His Absolution (or forgiveness), and the gift of His own forgiving and blessing Holy Supper, His Body and Blood. And even though God does not need our service, He does joyfully receive our responses of prayer, praise and adoration to Him through Jesus Christ. He strengthens us to live our daily lives as servants to one another. Let’s look at our “order of worship” and stand for the “Invocation” and then we will sing the Hymn of Invocation:

Pastor:       In the name of the Father and of the + Son and of the Holy Spirit. Matt 28:19

People:     Amen.

Pastor:       Be strong and let Your heart take courage,

People:     all who wait upon the Lord, Psalm 31:24, adapted


Pastor:       I trust in You, O Lord,

People:     You are my God.


Pastor:       Make Your face shine upon Your servant.

People:     Save me in Your steadfast love. Psalm 31:14, 16, adapted

All: Amen


Please be seated.

Our Hymn of Invocation is “Morning Has Broken” which is an insert in your bulletin.

Explanation: The invocation or the calling upon the name of our Triune God – Father, Son and Holy Spirit – is what begins the service.  When you look at the “Order of Worship”, right after something we say or do, you will see a biblical citation. This is telling you where in the Bible is the reason for what we are doing. These words would have been added to the baptismal water that first introduced you to the Triune God if and when you were first baptized. In fact at the beginning of each worship service these same words reintroduce you to the Holy Trinity and remind you of your baptism.

After the Trinitarian invocation, you responded with the Hebrew word “Amen” (!mEïa’)  which means “yes, yes, it shall be so” or “this is most certainly true. Most certainly there is no other God than this One. He is the One who has called us, gathers us, and puts us here together”.


(Silence is kept for meditation and reflection.)


Pastor:            Let us confess our sins to God our Father.

People:          I, a poor sinner, plead guilty before God of all sins.  I have lived as if God did not matter and as if I mattered most.  I have not honored my Lord’s name as I should; my worship and prayers have faltered.  I have not been thoroughly persuaded by His love for me, and so my love for others has failed.  There are those whom I have hurt and those whom I have failed to help.  My thoughts and desires are soiled with sin. 


Pastor:            Is this your sincere confession?

People:          I am sorry for all my sins and I ask for grace that I may do better.  Amen.


Pastor:            Almighty God in His mercy has given His Son to die for you and for His sake forgives you all your sins.  As a called and ordained servant of Christ, and by His authority, I therefore forgive you all your sins, in the name of the Father and of the + Son and of the Holy Spirit.

People:          Amen.


A Since we have received God’s forgiveness and peace let’s share his peace.

C   The Peace of the Lord.                                              R   The peace of the Lord.

Please be seated:

Explanation: Being in the presence of the Holy God also makes us aware of our own lack of holiness. In Confession we are asked to pause for a moment of silence to reflect upon how we have sinned against the Ten Commandments either by wicked thoughts, words or even outward deeds. Granted, our old sinful nature wants us to deny how much damage our daily sins have really done, But, the liturgy teaches us to be honest with ourselves, to come clean and drop our lies. After silent self-examination, our faith admits our miserable, sinful condition that justly deserves death and hell. And, at the same time, our faith trusts only in the boundless mercy of God for the sake of the punishment Jesus received on your behalf.

Then comes what we call Absolution or the announcement of God’s forgiveness through the mouth of a called and ordained servant of the Word. God not only announces that we are absolved or forgiven, but God really and truly gives us that forgiveness on account of Jesus Christ. The Absolution is based on Christ’s Easter words from John 20: 19-23. The words of Absolution connect this full and free forgiveness already to the promise of our baptism.

We now stand and enter the next section of the liturgy entitled “The Service of the Word”.

We do so with praise and thanksgiving using God’s own words as the Pastor reads or chants what is called the “Introit”. That’s a Latin word that means, “He enters in”. Here the service starts blending some things that are different every week with certain parts that remain essentially the same. We conclude the introit with what is called the “Gloria Patria” which is also Latin for the words: ‘Glory be to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Ghost…”

Then in what we call the “Kyrie” [Ker re ai] which means ‘Lord’, we come before the King of Mercy, singing the prayer of blind Bartimaeus. These words which we sing as a congregation reminds us of our Lord lovingly restoring his sight — which is also the Lord’s promise to help us today.

After singing the Kyrie, we go right into singing the ‘Gloria in Exclesis’ which echoes the song of the Christmas angels in the sky over Bethlehem. Gloria in Excelsis is Latin for what those angels sang on Christmas night — ‘Glory be to God on high and on earth, peace, good will to men.’ So we sing a little bit of Christmas each Sunday and we remember, too, that when our Lord Jesus comes to us in worship, he also brings His angels with Him. Our songs of praise and worship are united “with angels and archangels and all the company of heaven,’ as I would say later on in the Lord’s Supper.

Please stand and I will chant the Introit and then we will join together in the Kyrie and Gloria and I will proceed up to the altar:



       Glory be to the Father and to the Sonand to the Holy Spirit;

            as it was in the beginning, is now, and will be forever. Amen.



GLORIA IN EXCELSIS                                                                                                     


Explanation of Salutation and Collect: We now come to the “Salutation”. These are traditional greetings that are intended to reflect the love between the pastor and the people/the congregation. ‘The Lord be with you’ – Remember? That was the special greeting that angels would give just before they made important announcements. Remember how Gabriel, when he greeted Mary and told her that the Messiah would come into the world and be miraculously conceived in her virgin womb. This same greeting of Gabriel reminds us that the same Messiah, the same Savior Jesus, comes to bless us whenever His Word is read and preached.

The Salutation is followed by the “Collect of the Day” which is simply a short prayer that “collects” the themes of the Scripture passages about to be read, praying that God would use those readings to produce fruit in us. Because all the appointed Scripture lessons today have to do with how the Lord, our good and gracious Shepherd, takes care of us in body as well as in soul, the Collect for this reminds us to receive all these gifts and benefits with thanksgiving and seek to do His will.


A    The Lord be with you.                                                                C   And also with you.

A         Let us pray. Lord Jesus Christ, our support and defense in every need, continue to preserve Your Church in safety, govern her by Your goodness, and bless her with Your peace, for You live and reign with the Father and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever.                                       . C   Amen.

Please be seated

Explanation of Scripture Readings:

Scripture is the Living God speaking His faith-creating Word to us. We should listen with that in mind. The first reading is ordinarily from a prophet of the Old Testament. Today we will read from the Book of Isaiah who teaches us that we are given ears to hear the Word of God and a voice to speak God’s Word and that we may suffer persecution for speaking God’s Word.

The second Scripture reading, which we call the Epistle, is a letter written by an apostle to either a Christian individual, or a church, or to a group of churches. Today we hear from James, we don’t know who James was writing to specifically, he teaches that we should be careful teaching God’s Word, whoever does will be held accountable by God for what they teach. That we all need to be careful of what we say, the words we say can cause great harm and we have a responsibility to be careful in what we teach and in what we say.

The third reading, the Holy Gospel, is from the Gospel or the Good-News of Mark and how Jesus had to deal with an unclean spirit, a demon. Jesus deals with a lot of demons in Scripture, by reading Scripture we know, that despite what the world tells us, Satan is very active in the world and causes great pain. The reading of the Gospel is the heart and center of the Service of the Word, so we give it special honor. We stand to hear Jesus speak, and we sing shouts of Alleluia and praise directly to Jesus: ‘Glory be to You O Lord” and “Praise to You, O Christ”.

OLD TESTAMENT (The Lord has given me ears to hear and a voice to speak.)

                                                                                                                          Isaiah 50:4-10

4     The Lord GOD has given me

        the tongue of those who are taught,

     that I may know how to sustain with a word

        him who is weary.

     Morning by morning he awakens;

        he awakens my ear

        to hear as those who are taught.

5     The Lord GOD has opened my ear,

        and I was not rebellious;

        I turned not backward.

6     I gave my back to those who strike,

        and my cheeks to those who pull out the beard;

     I hid not my face

        from disgrace and spitting.

7     But the Lord GOD helps me;

        therefore I have not been disgraced;

     therefore I have set my face like a flint,

        and I know that I shall not be put to shame.

8     He who vindicates me is near.

     Who will contend with me?

        Let us stand up together.

     Who is my adversary?

        Let him come near to me.

9     Behold, the Lord GOD helps me;

        who will declare me guilty?

     Behold, all of them will wear out like a garment;

        the moth will eat them up.

10   Who among you fears the LORD

        and obeys the voice of his servant?

     Let him who walks in darkness

        and has no light

     trust in the name of the LORD

        and rely on his God.

L   This is the Word of the Lord.                                                          C   Thanks be to God.

EPISTLE (The tongue is a fire, a world of unrighteousness.)

                                                                                                                           James 3:1-12

1     Not many of you should become teachers, my brothers, for you know that we who teach will be judged with greater strictness.2 For we all stumble in many ways. And if anyone does not stumble in what he says, he is a perfect man, able also to bridle his whole body.3 If we put bits into the mouths of horses so that they obey us, we guide their whole bodies as well.4 Look at the ships also: though they are so large and are driven by strong winds, they are guided by a very small rudder wherever the will of the pilot directs.5 So also the tongue is a small member, yet it boasts of great things.

     How great a forest is set ablaze by such a small fire!6 And the tongue is a fire, a world of unrighteousness. The tongue is set among our members, staining the whole body, setting on fire the entire course of life, and set on fire by hell.7 For every kind of beast and bird, of reptile and sea creature, can be tamed and has been tamed by mankind,8 but no human being can tame the tongue. It is a restless evil, full of deadly poison.9 With it we bless our Lord and Father, and with it we curse people who are made in the likeness of God.10 From the same mouth come blessing and cursing. My brothers, these things ought not to be so.11 Does a spring pour forth from the same opening both fresh and salt water?12 Can a fig tree, my brothers, bear olives, or a grapevine produce figs? Neither can a salt pond yield fresh water.

L   This is the Word of the Lord.                                                          C   Thanks be to God.


Sing:  Alleluila Alleluila Alleluila, these things are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God,   Alleluila Alleluila Alleluila


HOLY GOSPEL (Jesus releases a youth from a demon that he might speak again.)

                                                                                                                                Mark 9:14-29

P   The Holy Gospel according to St. Mark, the ninth chapter.        C   Glory to You, O Lord.

(The Gospel is read.)

14   And when they came to the disciples, they saw a great crowd around them, and scribes arguing with them.15 And immediately all the crowd, when they saw him, were greatly amazed and ran up to him and greeted him.16 And he asked them, “What are you arguing about with them?”17 And someone from the crowd answered him, “Teacher, I brought my son to you, for he has a spirit that makes him mute.18 And whenever it seizes him, it throws him down, and he foams and grinds his teeth and becomes rigid. So I asked your disciples to cast it out, and they were not able.”19 And he answered them, “O faithless generation, how long am I to be with you? How long am I to bear with you? Bring him to me.”20 And they brought the boy to him. And when the spirit saw him, immediately it convulsed the boy, and he fell on the ground and rolled about, foaming at the mouth.21 And Jesus asked his father, “How long has this been happening to him?” And he said, “From childhood.22 And it has often cast him into fire and into water, to destroy him. But if you can do anything, have compassion on us and help us.”23 And Jesus said to him, “‘If you can’! All things are possible for one who believes.”24 Immediately the father of the child cried out and said, “I believe; help my unbelief!”25 And when Jesus saw that a crowd came running together, he rebuked the unclean spirit, saying to it, “You mute and deaf spirit, I command you, come out of him and never enter him again.”26 And after crying out and convulsing him terribly, it came out, and the boy was like a corpse, so that most of them said, “He is dead.”27 But Jesus took him by the hand and lifted him up, and he arose.28 And when he had entered the house, his disciples asked him privately, “Why could we not cast it out?”29 And he said to them, “This kind cannot be driven out by anything but prayer.”

P   This is the Gospel of the Lord.                                            C   Praise to You, O Christ.


Please be seated:

The Creed is our saying back to God what His Word first says to us. We profess the truth of the Triune God and the work he has completed for our salvation. Some Sundays we use the Nicene Creed; other Sundays and during baptisms we use the Apostle’s Creed. On at least one Sunday each year, on Trinity Sunday, we use the Athanasian Creed, the longest of the three creeds.

After the Creed we’re usually seated for the hymn of the day, also called the Sermon Hymn. Hymn of the Day usually responds to the themes of the Scripture readings. Ordinarily, that theme would also be at the center of the sermon, as the pastor explains one or more of the readings in a way that is Christ-centered, always exposing our sin and proclaiming forgiveness and salvation in Jesus Christ.


APOSTLES CREED                                                                                           LSB 207

C    I believe in God the Father Almighty, maker of heaven and earth.

       And in Jesus Christ, His only Son, our Lord,

                 who was conceived by the Holy Spirit,

                 born of the Virgin Mary, suffered under Pontius Pilate,

                 was crucified, died and was buried.

            He descended into hell.

                 The third day He rose again from the dead.

                 He ascended into heaven

                      and sits at the right hand of God the Father almighty.

                 From thence He will come to judge the living and the dead.

            I believe in the Holy Spirit,

                      the holy Christian Church, the communion of saints,

                      the forgiveness of sins, the resurrection of the body,

                      and the life T everlasting.  Amen.


HYMN OF THE DAY          “Thy Word is Like a Garden, Lord”                                INSERT

SERMON                                     NARRATIVE SERVICE                                                      

Explanation of the Sermon: Pastors will put a lot of work in sermons, and hopefully we write our sermons under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit. Often sermons will be the result of study over years, that come together just for this one sermon. This is where I remind you, about God’s Law and how we have offended God by breaking His Law and how God has saved us in our offenses through the Gospel, the Good News of Jesus. I try to explain the context of the stories so that you understand that these are very real people who are interacting with Jesus and are trusting in what Jesus does in their lives. I try to give you a lot of background as to who the people are we are talking about, the time in history that we are talking about the things that these people confront in their daily lives and how Jesus or God through one of His prophets affect people. I also try to make sure that I give you additional opportunities to expand even more on what I’ve discussed. That when you leave here, you will be strengthened in your faith and also equipped to help others in their faith and to come to know the Lord Jesus Christ as their Savior.

Explanation of Prayer of the Church

Following the Savior’s own prayerful example the pastor goes to God’s altar and offers up the PRAYER OF THE CHURCH. We pray with faith in all that Jesus has done for us and promises to do for us. We lay before God all of our concerns, requests and thanksgiving — for the church, for our parents, for our children, for family and friends, for our leaders. But not just our local concerns. As Jesus has given His love and support to us, we in turn give love and support to Christ’s needy ones around the world by praying for them. And we especially pray for those who refuse to belong to Christ, because Jesus died for their sins too.

We stand


VERSE                                        “O Lord, Hear My Prayer”                                      LSB 780

© 1982 Ateliers et Presses de Taizé, Taizé Community, France; admin. GIA Publications, Inc.

Used by permission: LSB Hymn License .NET, no. 100013249.

A   Let us pray for the whole people of God in Christ Jesus and for all people according to their needs. Keep us, O Lord, from speaking words of anger, division, and hate and grant us every aid of Your Spirit that we may speak the good word of the Gospel, to build up one another in faith and to address the world with Your grace,  Lord, in Your mercy,                    C   hear our prayer.

A   Help us, O Lord, to see both the destructive power of our words and the healing power of Your Word, that we may rejoice to share with others the healing and sustaining word of the cross we have heard in Christ.  Lord, in Your mercy,                                         C   hear our prayer.

 A   Build up Your Church, O Lord, in the power of Your gracious Word to heal every division, to unite the diverse, and to spread harmony and concord wherever Your people gather.  Bless all pastors, missionaries, and all church workers in their vocations of service and bless their ministry for the fulfillment of Your bidding and the glory of Your holy name.  Lord, in Your mercy,

                                                                                   C   hear our prayer.

A   Spread, O Lord, the reign of peace within and among all nations.  Bless all who make, administer, and judge our laws that everywhere the weak may be protected, virtue encouraged, and justice and freedom prosper for all.  Bless especially those who guard our freedom here, and throughout the world. [specifically….David, Daniel, Charles, Caleb, Ashley, Josiah, Isaiah, David, Nicholas, Sarah, Eric,Donald, Charlie, Justin, Jose, Corey],  Lord, in Your mercy,                                                                                                                                                                                               C   hear our prayer.

A   Heal, O Lord, all those wounded by affliction, suffering the frailty of age, and sorrowing over the loss of those whom they love [especially….Pastor Devan, Pastor Biggs, Bonnie, Dawn, Jessica, Thelma, Trey, Daryl, Sam, Judy, Wil, Bob, Sam Jr, Mary, Bobbie, Cinda, Elijah, Jade, Kathy Steckel and children, Bill, Ed Jr., Delores, Sandy,Don, Angie, Ron] that all who cry to You in their need may know the full consolation of Your healing and sustaining love.  Lord, in Your mercy,                                                                                               C   hear our prayer.

 A   Bless, O Lord, all who receive the body and blood of Christ, that receiving this gift and grace they may serve You with all their heart, mind, body, and soul, both now, and even forevermore.  Lord, in Your mercy,                                                                                  C   hear our prayer.

A   These and whatsoever other things we need or we should ask, we request in the name of Jesus, for into Your hands, O gracious God, we commend all for whom we pray, trusting in Your mercy for the sake of Your Son, Jesus Christ our Lord.                                               C   Amen.


(Sit)                        WE ARE BLESSED TO BE A BLESSING

EXPLANATION OF OFFERING:  The Offering gives us a chance to respond to our heavenly Father in another way. As God does not give us leftovers, but gives all of Himself to us, we, too, return to Him not just whatever is left over, but we place on God’s altar a token of giving our whole lives to God. We offer Creation back to the Creator for the doing of His will. In the Gospel we hear about a young boy who provided the five loaves of bread and two small fish so that others could be fed, hear the Gospel and be saved. Likewise we support those who proclaim the life of Christ to us today, so that people would know His salvation. Let us now gather the offering. The stewards will now wait upon you for your tithes and offerings.

OFFERING     { Please fill out the blue card and place it in the offering plate. }  

VOLUNTARY                                      “Meditation”                                                               R. Hughes

OFFERTORY HYMN                    We Give Thee But Thine Own             (Vss. 1-2) LSB 781


After the offering, we normally would move into that part of the Divine Service which we call THE SERVICE OF THE SACRAMENT. Since we won’t be having communion today, I will only discuss a little of it and save the rest for another time like this, but needless to say the celebration of the Lord’s Supper is very important, very precious part of our worship and ministry. Along with Holy Baptism, Absolution and the preaching of the Gospel, the Lord’s Supper is one of the specially appointed means of grace through which our Lord bestows forgiveness of sins, eternal life and salvation. We believe the consecrated bread and wine of the Lord’s Supper convey the very body and blood that our Lord gave up on the Cross, given and shed for the forgiveness of our sins. We do require that all who take the Lord’s Supper first be instructed so that they can properly prepare for this holy meal and know for certain what they are partaking/eating. We would welcome the opportunity to share more with you visitors about the Lord’s Supper, Holy Baptism or other aspects of the Lutheran faith – no cost or obligation – let me know when is a good time to meet and talk.


Explanation of Lord’s Prayer and Benediction: We come to the end of worship by first praying the prayer that Jesus taught His disciples when they asked Him to teach them to pray in Matthew 6: 9-11. The Lord’s prayer is so unique in its simplicity, children can easily remember the Lord’s prayer, but it is so profound especially since it guides us right to our Father in heaven. It covers everything that we should cover with God, but in a simple and thoughtful way. WE stand and pray as Jesus taught us, saying:


C   Our Father who art in heaven,

            hallowed be Thy name,

            Thy kingdom come,

            Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven;

            give us this day our daily bread;

            and forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us;

            and lead us not into temptation,

            but deliver us from evil.

       For Thine is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever and ever. Amen.


And then the BENEDICTION which is not just a fancy way of saying goodbye. In the Book of Numbers, chapter 6, God says this blessing marks the Lord’s people with His, God’s Name. The Lord gathered us together with His Name in Baptism. Now with that same name, He sends us back into the world to the places of our various callings. He sends us out to present ourselves as living sacrifices for the good of our neighbor to the praise of God’s glory by the mercy He has given to us. So now receive the BENEDICTION OF OUR LORD.





And the communion of the Holy Spirit, be with you all


We end worship with the Recessional Hymn “Just a closer walk with Thee” which is an insert in your bulletin.


P   Go in peace and serve the Lord!         

                                   C   Till all have heard! Thanks be to God!


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