What is liturgy?
"Liturgy" is one of those churchy words that pastors and other worship leaders use frequently in conversation. The term derives from the Greek word leitourgia, which means "work of the people." When we talk about liturgy in the church, we're referring to the daily ritual of worship. As a result, there are various types of liturgies, such as wedding liturgies, funeral liturgies, baptismal liturgies, and holy communion liturgies.
Lutherans can be overly protective of liturgy. Truthfully, liturgy has changed over the course of our denomination's history, sometimes in small ways and sometimes in big ways, with each passing generation. Even Martin Luther, to the horror of many in the 16th-century, dared to change the Church's liturgical practices with his formula missae and Deutche messe.
Luther would warn us today not to let our liturgy become an idol, to become so sacred in our minds that we are afraid to change it. Luther's own changes to the Church's liturgy were intended to make it more accessible to the people and to encourage more participation in worship by those sitting in the pews—to truly make liturgy "the work of the people."
Beginning Sunday, September 25, you’re going to experience a change in the pattern of worship. In reality, it’s a very minor change and one that I hope will bring not only more participation into worship, but also help center us into the experience of worship and emphasize the triune God.
A "Call to Worship," or an opening dialogue between the worship leader and the congregation, has been added, inviting us into God's presence. For the most part, the Call to Worship will draw from the lessons we'll hear read and incorporate things we pray for, such as justice, equity, creation, grace, and so on. In addition, like the Creed and Lord's Prayer, the Offering Prayer (or Prayer of Dedication) and the Prayer after Communion will be read collectively.
With the addition of the Call to Worship, the Confession and Forgiveness will follow the Intercession Prayers. This shift is not unusual or unprecedented, as it is consistent with the practice of our Episcopal siblings.
The Old Pattern of Worship The New Pattern of Worship
Confession & Forgiveness Call to Worship*
Gathering Hymn Gathering Hymn
Apostolic Greeting Apostolic Greeting
Kyrie/Canticle of Praise Kyrie/Canticle of Praise
Prayer of the Day Prayer of the Day
First Lesson/Reading First Lesson/Reading
Second Lesson/Reading Second Lesson/Reading
Gospel Acclamation Gospel Acclamation
Children’s Message Children’s Message
Hymn of the Day Hymn of the Day
Profession of Faith/Creed Profession of Faith/Creed
Prayers of Intercession Prayers of Intercession
Peace Confession & Forgiveness**
Offering Prayer Offering
Holy Communion Prayer of Dedication***
Lord’s Prayer Holy Communion
Invitation Lord’s Prayer
Distribution of Communion Invitation
Communion Hymn Distribution of Communion
Prayer after Communion Communion Hymn
Announcements Prayer after Communion***
Sending Hymn Benediction
Dismissal Sending Hymn
Will, our Minister of Music, will be starting up the choir soon now that we have switched to a mask optional covid protocol, and a choir interest form will be published in the next newsletter (next week). We're looking for new hearts and voices to join the choir, as well as those who have faithfully served the music ministry for many years––that includes the bell choir too!. In addition to the hymns now being introduced from the ELCA's All Creation Sings hymnal, which was published in 2021 and includes two new liturgies, you will begin to hear some new music in worship.
I am grateful for all of the feedback received at the end of worship over the last four weeks. I hope you will continue to be open with me about your worship experience, even if you don't agree with something we're doing during worship or want to discuss why some changes are being made.
In Christ and with Christ’s love,
The Rev. Eric Randolph
Peace Lutheran Church