Worship at First Lutheran
Vigorous, Liturgical, and Inviting
In 2008, First Lutheran's Congregation Council formulated a Vision Statement stating, among other things, that the congregation would "offer vigorous, liturgical, and inviting worship."
- Our worship is vigorous. The whole assembly is invited into full, active, and conscious participation in the liturgy.
- Our worship is liturgical. We draw on the great traditions of the church throughout the ages to guide us in our worship.
- Our worship is inviting. We welcome all people to worship with us, and our worship invites all into the fellowship of the Holy Trinity.
The service of Holy Communion at First Lutheran follows the ecumenical pattern of Gathering, Word, Meal, and Sending. The following briefly describes a full, festive worship service at First Lutheran.
First, we gather together. The pastor and the assembly greet each other in the name of the triune God. We sing a hymn of praise to God, and then the Prayer of the Day gathers the themes of the day into a short prayer.
After we have gathered together, we listen to God's word. This takes a variety of forms: there are three Scripture readings, interspersed with a Psalm and an acclamation of the Gospel. The pastor interprets and applies God's word for us during the sermon, and we preach to each other through the Hymn of the Day. As a response to our hearing of God's word, we profess our faith using a creed, offer prayers of intercession for others, and make peace with one another.
Next, we celebrate the foretaste of the heavenly feast, Holy Communion. We offer our God-given gifts back to God. Over the gifts of bread and wine we pray and sing the Great Thanksgiving — praising God, remembering Jesus, and asking for the Holy Spirit. We then share together in Christ's body and blood. At First Lutheran, we celebrate communion every week. All who commune at their home church are welcome to commune with us.
Finally, we go forth into the world. We are blessed in the same triune name with which we began, and sent forth to serve God and our neighbors.
Besides the Bible, our main worship resource at First Lutheran is our hymnal, Evangelical Lutheran Worship (ELW). The front section of ELW contains service orders and music for Holy Communion, Holy Baptism, daily prayer services, and more. The hymns and songs themselves are located in the second half of ELW. Hymns #1-150 are the Psalms, Israel's ancient songbook. Hymns #151-893 are hymns from a wide variety of times and places.
A bulletin (program) will be handed to you as you enter the worship space. Besides announcements and other useful information, the bulletin tells you how the worship service will unfold. Many assembly responses are printed in the bulletin, and the bulletin tells you where in the hymnal to find others.
"The most joyful Sunday morning service I have ever been to."
- Visiting pastor, describing a 10:30 service using the Gospel setting of the liturgy, which we sing every fall (September - October) and winter (January - February).
"The most powerful experience I have ever had in a Protestant church."
- Visitor who rarely attends church, describing a Holy Week Taizé service.
Interested in learning more?
The ELCA has lots of information about worship here.
The Association of Lutheran Church Musicians has a statement on worship.