Many people will spend only one hour or so a week in gathered, corporate worship. For that reason, as well as for many other biblical reasons, we desire our worship services to be carefully planned, orderly, biblically structured, and to be marked by the gospel joy and reverence that comes from the hearts, minds, and lips of those who are redeemed by the Lord's grace and whose worship bears witness to the glory of the God who has called us to Himself in the Lord Jesus by means of His Spirit and Word.
Our Sunday morning service of worship ordinarily follows the order given below.
The Welcome and Announcements. A time to welcome those who are gathered, to be reminded of our purpose in gathering on the Lord's Day, and to be given news and announcements regarding our church life.
The Prelude. A time to quieten our hearts and minds before the Lord as we come into His presence in order to give Him our praise.
The Call to Worship. It is God Himself who summons His people to come before Him in worship. We are called to worship by the Choral Introit and by words of Scripture read by the Pastor.
The Hymn of Praise. We join our hearts and voices in praise to God.
The Prayer of Adoration and Invocation. We humbly acknowledge the greatness of the God we worship, our inability to come into His presence apart from Jesus, and our inadequacy to worship God as He is to be worshipped.
The Confession of Faith. It is fitting and uplifting that we who rest in Christ alone for our salvation profess our faith together., and by doing so, remind ourselves of the reason that are gathered for worship. We ordinarily use an old creed of the church known as the Apostles' Creed, but may use other confessions of the church or sentences of Scripture.
The Gloria Patri. So named for its first two words in Latin, the Gloria Patri is a short song of praise given to God who is the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.
The Old Testament Scripture. Desiring our service to be filled with God's Word, we often have a consecutive reading from Scripture in addition to the text for the sermon.
The Hymn of Prayer. In response to the Word of God read, we seek to sing His Word to Him in praise and prayer.
The Morning Prayer and the Lord's Prayer. We seek to pray God's Word back to Him and unite our hearts and voices in praying the Lord's Prayer.
The Presentation of God's Tithes and Offerings. In bringing our tithes and offerings to the Lord, we acknowledge that He is the Giver and Owner of all that we have and that we joyfully give ourselves to Him.
The Doxology. We again give praise to God by the words of this short hymn, written in the 1600's, and said to perhaps be sung more frequently than the words of any other Christian music.
The Anthem. Sung by the adult choir, the anthem is offering of music to the Lord.
The Time With the Children. A few moments given especially to our children by way of reminder that Jesus drew the children into His arms and blessed them.
The Reading of God's Word. The text for the morning sermon is read.
The Preaching of God's Word. As God’s appointed means of building up His people, the preaching of God’s Word is central to Reformed worship. The pastor normally preaches consecutively through a selected portion of Scripture.
The Prayer for Illumination. We confess our dependence on God to open His Word to our hearts and our hearts to His Word, realizing that apart from Him, we cannot preach, hear, or practice His Word.
The Gospel Declaration and the Benediction. We close with a Scriptural affirmation of the assurance given in the Gospel to those who know and believe the Gospel, and with a Benediction in which the congregation receives God's words of blessing.
The Choral Response. A fitting way to remind us yet again of God's goodness and grace and to implore His continued blessing upon His people as we leave a time of corporate worship to serve and glorify Him in all that He calls us to do and to be, until we meet again, either in gathered worship on earth or in His presence in heaven.
SOME NOTES ABOUT THE ORDER OF WORSHIP
The Sacrament of the Lord's Supper is ordinarily observed on the first Sunday of every other month and at other times as appointed by the Session.
The Apostles' Creed, a brief affirmation of basic Christian belief, is called the Apostles’ Creed, not because one or several of the Apostles of the New Testament were its authors, but because it expresses the faith the Apostles taught. It is “Apostolic”in the sense that it affirms and preserves the faith which they learned from Jesus. We use some of the traditional translation of the Creed in such words as "quick" to speak of the "living" and the word "catholic" instead of the word "universal." Also, when we say that Christ “descended into hell,” we are not saying that upon His death,Jesus actually went into hell; rather, we are affirming that Jesus suffered all the pains and torments of hell as He endured the unmitigated wrath of God for our sin.
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