Worship is where God gives us gifts. In worship God comes to encounter us in water and with words and in bread we eat and wine we drink. With the people we love, we gather together to encounter and experience God. Worship is where we together receive God’s gifts and then respond with praise, prayer, and thanksgiving.
In our Lutheran worship there is a rhythm, which is a lot like breathing. It always begins with God first coming to us (inhale). And in our receiving, we then respond (exhale). Our liturgy consisting of Invocation, Confession and Absolution, Scripture and Preaching, Profession of Faith (Creed), the Sacrament of Communion, Songs, Hymns, Prayer, and Benediction reflects this rhythm of our worship.
This morning, as we welcome you to worship, we pray that God prepares our hearts to receive and worship Him in spirit and in truth (John 4:23). We will be celebrating the Lord’s Supper today as part of our worship service. We believe that the Lord’s Supper (the Sacrament of the Altar) is the true body and blood of our Lord Jesus Christ under the bread and wine, instituted by Christ Himself for us Christians to eat and drink. We also believe that the words “given and shed for you for the forgiveness of sins” (Matthew 26:28) shows us that in the Sacrament forgiveness of sins, life, and salvation are given us through these words of Jesus. In preparing to receive the Lord’s Supper, it is important that we examine ourselves. Doing so, a person should be able to answer “yes” to each of the following questions:
- Do I believe I am a sinner without hope of eternal life, except for God’s mercy offered through the death and resurrection of His Son, Jesus Christ?
- Do I repent of my sin in thought, word, and deed?
- Do I believe that Jesus Christ is God’s Son and my personal Savior?
- Do I believe that Jesus Christ is really present in the Sacrament of Holy Communion in, with, and under the bread and wine?
- And do I desire by the power of the Holy Spirit at work within me to live a life pleasing to God?
Some of the members of your group may not be Lutheran. We would lovingly ask that those who have not been baptized or received instruction regarding the Lord’s Supper (which is part of Confirmation in many of our Lutheran congregations) or are not prepared, still come forward and receive a blessing. To help those assisting with communion know that you would like a blessing, simply cross your hands over your chest.
May each of us be blessed as we gather together in the name of our one, true God: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Amen.