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    Prayer & Christian Devotion - Thread: Lutheran Liturgy Explanation

    1. #11
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      The Collect of the Day

      For those not associated with a liturgical church, this might cause some confusion. In other words, some people might think this refers to the offering. However, the word “Collect” as used in the liturgy gets its origin from this concept: in the early days of Christianity it was the custom of the clergy of a town to gather with their people at a certain church. The church was designated as the station for that day, and the bishop offered a prayer which “collected” the petitions of the people. Many of the collects which we use in our worship services today have been handed down to us over a period of fifteen centuries. The Collect is usually tied to the theme which runs through the Introit, the Gradual and the Readings.

      The Collect is a short prayer which gathers or “collects” the thoughts and prayers of the entire Church as they apply to the theme of the day.

    2. #12
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      Now we reach the high point in our service. So far we have opened our lips in prayer and praise to God. Now we fall silent, for our Lord Himself will now speak to us. He will reveal Himself and His will in a special way: in the reading and preaching of His Word. God has made Himself known to us in the Bible. This is how He speaks to us. This is the source of all that we believe and teach. Without the Word of God our worship, as well as our faith, would wither and die.

      The First Reading

      The first reading is from the Old Testament, except during the Easter season when it is from the Book of Acts. This reading usually relates to the Gospel of the day.
      * I Tim. 4:13.

      The reading of the Law and the Prophets became standard practice as the Jewish people recalled God’s gift of the law through Moses and God’s speaking to them through the Old Testament prophets. Jesus Himself entered the synagogue one Sabbath and read from the Old Testament Book of Isaiah, as we are told in Luke 4:16 ff.

    3. #13
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      The Gradual

      Gradual, a Latin expression meaning "step," is a scripture passage for each season of the church year. It is a response to the First Lesson and a bridge to the Second Lesson. Sometimes a psalm is sung or spoken.

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      The Second Reading

      With the birth of the Christian Church, letters were written by the inspiration of the Holy Spirit and circulated from congregation to congregation. These letters, in varying lengths, were known as “epistles.” In this manner, each congregation would have a chance to hear the epistles. St. Paul wrote to the Colossians: “And when this epistle is read among you, cause that it be read also in the church of the Laodiceans; and that you likewise read the epistle from Laodicea.” (Colossians 4:16)

    5. #15
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      The Verse

      A verse from the holy scriptures is usually sung in preparation for the reading of the Gospel. There are general verses* as well as specific verses for the seasons of the church year.
      * John 6:68; Joel 2:13 (through lent).

    6. #16
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      The Holy Gospel

      The Gospel Lesson is a selection from the accounts of the life of our Lord recorded by the four evangelists, St. Matthew, St. Mark, St. Luke, and St. John. Because Christ is with us in the Gospel reading, we stand to honor his presence. We also sing versicles (short verses) before and after the reading of the Gospel. On certain festival days the minister may read the Gospel while standing among the people. He may be flanked by acolytes carrying candles who proclaim Jesus and his word as the "light of the world."

    7. #17
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      The Hymn of the Day

      The Hymn of the Day (sung before the sermon), is usually always tied to the main theme of the day. The restoration of congregational singing was one of the great contributions of the Reformation to the Church. St. Paul encouraged the Colossian Christians when he wrote: “Let the Word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom; teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord.” (Colossians 3:16) This is why all of the hymns we sing in worship should be Christ-centered and richly based upon His Word, otherwise they are not worthy of use in Christian worship.

    8. #18
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      The Sermon

      The Pastor proclaims God's Word and applies that word to modern life and problems. He stresses both what God demands of us (the Law) and what God does for us through Jesus Christ (the Gospel).

      God speaks to us through His called servant. The Pastor’s sermon is not just a number of offhand remarks, but a prayerfully prepared proclamation of God’s message of repentance, salvation, and growth in faith. Upon entering the pulpit the Pastor greets us with the Salutation which the Apostle Paul used so often in his letters. At the conclusion of the sermon the Pastor speaks the Votum. With these words from Philippians 4:7 he invokes the blessings of God’s peace upon all who have here received God’s Word.

      Through the preaching of the Word, the Holy Spirit does His work. The preaching of the Gospel is the Church’s lifeblood. Preaching proclaims a message. The message is from God. Preaching tells of God’s gift of life, which He gives to men through His Son Jesus Christ, who died on the cross and rose again that men might live eternally. Through preaching, God tells of His life to the world, and more: through preaching, God gives Himself to the world. Preaching is not man’s words but God’s Word. This is evident from the way in which all the Old Testament prophets addressed their audience; i.e., “Thus says the Lord.” And in Luke’s Gospel, Jesus said, “I must preach the kingdom of God to other cities also, for this reason I am sent.” But preaching is not just a message. It is a message about Christ. Paul says in 2 Corinthians 4:5: “For we do not preach ourselves, but Christ Jesus the Lord, and ourselves your bondservants for Jesus’ sake.” Through the Gospel, faith is created in the hearer. “Faith comes from hearing, and hearing through the word of Christ.” (Romans 10:17)

    9. #19
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      The Creed

      After hearing the word of God read and proclaimed, the worshiper responds with his confession of faith in the words of the Nicene Creed. It is customary for the Nicene Creed to be spoken when Holy Communion is celebrated and on major festivals. The Apostles' Creed is used at other times.
      * I Cor. 15:1ff; I Pet. 3:18ff; I Tim. 3:16.

      The oldest of the creeds we use in worship is the Apostles’ Creed. It was not written by the apostles, but it was used as an early confession of faith connected with Baptism, and is based upon the teachings of the apostles. Written traces of this early creed date back as early as 150 A.D. and seem to find their origins in Rome.

      The creed which we typically confess when we receive the Lord’s Supper is the Nicene Creed. It emphasizes the deity of Christ. It was first formulated at Nicaea in 325 A.D. (revised in 381) in response to the Arian heresy which had crept into the Church. For the false teacher, Arius, the Father and the Son were not essentially one. In order to combat this heresy, the formulators of the Nicene Creed used such phrases as: “the Only-Begotten Son of God,” “begotten, not made,” “being of one substance with the Father,” “by whom all things were made,” to show that Jesus was not created, but was true God with the Father from all eternity.

    10. #20
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      The Prayers

      This prayer in the service follows the directive of the Apostle Paul to young Timothy, a pastor: "I urge, then, first of all, that requests, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for everyone - for Kings and all those in authority, that we may live in peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness"*. For this reason, the hymnal says "prayers are included for the whole church, the nations, those in need, the parish, and special concerns. The congregation may be invited to offer petitions and thanksgivings. The minister gives thanks for the faithful departed, especially for those who have died" (LW pages 168-69).
      * I Tim. 2:1-2.

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