What to Expect in Worship
Our services are liturgical...that means they follow a format that links us to how Christians have worshiped since the days of Jesus' earliest followers. The liturgy itself is composed of various verses and phrases from the Bible. The format of the liturgy changes seasonally. In addition, the content is different each week. Like any of God's activities in which humans are invited to participate, there are delights and challenges involved in liturgical worship.
We use hymns in our worship... Our goal is to have people participate vocally in worship and singing. In the same manner as folk tunes, hymns are written at a level so that the greatest number of people will be able to participate in singing them. Numerous studies have demonstrated that what we learn in song is recorded at a deep place within our minds. Like singing the ABCs, important truths find themselves written on our minds and hearts as we sing them in the hymns.
How do people dress for worship? Worshippers come dressed in everything from casual dress to more formal attire.
What about my kids? Children are welcome! We have worship bags with quiet activities for children who are too young to read. We also have a room with a changing table where parents can bring toddlers and still follow worship.
Can I take communion? The Lutheran Church recognizes the real presence of the body and blood of Christ in this Sacrament, and we ask all who attend communion to share this faith with us. Members of our sister congregations in the Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod are welcome to commune. If you are a guest and want to receive the Sacrament, please speak with the pastor or an elder before the Service prior to communing.
How can I get connected? The easiest way to get to know people at church is to remain after the service for coffee hour and visit with them. Please also let the Pastor know of gifts and talents you have that you would like to use within our congregation.
Where do I park? Other than handicapped parking spaces, there is no area of the church parking lot that is reserved. Please feel free to drop off family members near the front walk, and also feel free to park in any area that suits you.
What is Family Bible Study?
Did you know that each Sunday morning at 9:01 a.m. [or a few moments later for some] we gather together in family units to study the Word of God? Here's how it works. First, adults and children meet as a group for the presentation of a Bible story [currently we're doing the Gospel readings for each Sunday morning]. Then we talk together about the story—adults and kids—and recall the facts or events of what was said. Then we speak about the impact God's Word has on our lives. After that children go to work on a lesson sheet that will help reinforce what was spoken about, and adults remain in the presentation area to examine the story in a little more detail.
Sounds innocent enough, doesn’t it? Just another 30 to 45 minute activity to keep everybody happy and the kids busy, right? Not if you believe what the Bible says about God’s Word. When we encounter the Word of God, it has the power to change your life! Could it really be that you will never be the same again because of God’s Word? Absolutely! Most of the changes in our lives that are brought about by God’s Word happen like the change that occurs when water runs over a rock and gradually wears a groove because of the constantly flowing stream. But some changes are instantaneous—an “Aha!” moment when the Holy Spirit shows us something new in a part of Scripture we thought we were acquainted with. And sometimes we come upon items we were unfamiliar with, or passages we previously misunderstood.
And believe it or not, the greatest learning often takes place after Family Bible Study. It happens when dad says, “What did you think about the Bible story we talked about this morning?” and dialogues with his child about what they heard. Or when mom says, “Let’s sing the song we learned about being Jesus’ little lamb.” The truth turns out to be sobering: God gives ultimate responsibility for training children to fathers and mothers. In this crazy, spiritually-out-of-kilter world, if you don’t involve yourself in teaching your children who Jesus is, who else will?!? Surely your pastor will do his best to form a personal bond with you and your children, but you are their greatest and most constant teacher. You can spend one-on-one time with them that no other adult can.
We think nothing of having our children spend five hours per week in math class to learn what they need to be successful in life. And then there are the hours of math homework that you help them with. That being said, how much time are you spending to insure that your child learns what’s necessary for eternity? One hour every few weeks or so?
A great deal of what your children learn will come from the attitudes they model from you. “I was glad when they said to me, ‘Let us go to the House of the Lord’” or “There are too many other things to do on Sunday?” Wherever today finds you, there’s forgiveness. It’s never too late to begin studying in God’s kindergarten. That’s where I, Pastor Emmrich, place myself. Come join me on Sunday mornings. There’s plenty of room for you, too, and incidentally, the snacks are great!
More on Worship
The following comes from Chad Bird's Flying Scroll Blog at Wordpress.com. It speaks to the challenges and joys of liturgical worship. Enjoy!
It’s been baptized by my sweat. The soles of my shoes have shaped and smoothed its contours. It’s eavesdropped on my conversations with God and men. Through darkness and light, I’ve sped along its vagabond ways, ducking drooping limbs and jumping tree roots. No more than a foot wide and three miles long, the trail snakes its way through the bush-lined, tree-packed bowels of the park near my home. It may be city property, and I may be forced to share it with other runners, but that doesn’t stop me from christening it “my trail.”
It’s a path of untamed beauty, a veritable feast for the senses, but I, a fickle lover, grew bored with it after logging hundreds of hours speeding along its surface. Tunnel vision overtook me. I became blind to the unique features of this narrow stretch of earth. Every tree, every flower, every rock, every blade of grass I thought I knew, so I ran right on past them as if there was nothing else to see. Familiarity bred contempt. So I thought it was time to move on to another trail, a new trail.
Then one Saturday morning, I eased from a run to a jog into a walk, and was startled by what I began to see. A few feet off the trail was a great-great-grandfather of a tree, high and exalted, who had bequeathed one of his enormous limbs to a colony of honey-making bees that buzzed about its bark. Farther along, as the trail zigzagged through dense undergrowth, lay a rotting log along the surface of which sprouted a family of pink and purple mushrooms. Out of the corner of my eye I spotted a slight movement in the grass, and there lay a fawn, virtually invisible in her God-given camouflage, eyeing me with those big brown eyes of innocence and caution as I spoke to her as one would talk to a young child. I spied a tree with “Bobby Loves Becky” carved in its trunk, a patch of flowers encircling an old watering bucket, a penny minted the year of my birth. All these little surprises I discovered, some of which had been in my line of vision thousands of other times, but to which I had been blind. Speed had handicapped me. I had grown bored with the trail as if the trail was to blame. But the fault lay squarely within me. Only when I slowed down, and truly looked, did I realize that familiarity need not breed contempt; it can invite comprehension, awareness, a depth of understanding impossible apart from long-term, intimate knowledge.
That was a Saturday. The following morning, as I sat in my familiar pew, in my familiar church, singing songs and confessing creeds and praying prayers that were all familiar to me, I smiled a secret smile that only God would have understood. What a foolish pupil I was, yet what a patient teacher my Lord had been. For he had transformed a trail upon which I ran into a classroom in which he taught me anew how to appreciate and love the beauty and depth of the Divine Service.
We scurry along the surface of the liturgy week after week as if the goal is to get from the invocation to the benediction at breakneck speed. And we can do this because we assume we know the lay of the land. Blindfold us and we think we can still maneuver around the twists and turns of worship. Just as my feet pounded out a rhythm along that trail, while my heart was far away, so our lips rhythmically speak the words, but in our heart it all too easily sounds like, “I confess that I am by nature blah, blah, blah…I believe in blah, blah, blah…The LORD bless you and blah, blah, blah.” The fault, however, is not in the Divine Service. It’s not time to find a new liturgical trail. It is time, however, to ease from running to jogging to walking to kneeling, and there, on your knees, to contemplate the divine riches we’ve been trampling underfoot. It’s time to let familiarity breed comprehension.
In an age when the phrase “new and improved” applies to everything from phones to marriages, when we as a nation mimic juveniles, lustily pursuing the next new thing, the worst decision a church can make is to cater to this weakness. The word of God cannot be improved upon, and it is that word that forms the sum and substance of the Divine Service, bequeathed to the church from prior generations. Here is a trail upon which the believer can walk back and forth a million Sundays, and never see all the beauty therein, for divine beauty is fathomless.
I think it was C. S. Lewis who once wrote that the liturgy is like a dance. When you’re first learning it, forced to concentrate on where to put your feet, where and when to turn, the dance is hard to appreciate. When you’ve finally learned it, however, the more you do it, the deeper grows your love and enjoyment of it. It becomes as natural as any other movement, but full of grace and beauty.
This Sunday, as you sit in your familiar pew, in your familiar church, singing songs and confessing creeds and praying prayers that are probably all familiar to you, don’t rush. Ease from running to jogging to walking to kneeling, and soak in the loveliness of the words that fall from your lips. They are the Lord’s own words. And familiarity with them breeds a comprehension of a divine love for you that knows no bounds.