Sacred Time. Sacred Space. Sacred Things.
Be a part of something sacred.
Sacred Time – Time we set apart each week for God to work in us through His Word and Sacraments.
Sacred Space – Our Sanctuary is set apart for the purpose of our receiving our Lord’s gifts.
Sacred Things – Not the things of man, but the things of God, chief of which is His Word. The Sacraments are also things of God, instituted by Jesus to bring us the forgiveness of sins which He earned for us long ago.
The world and your daily life are filled with so many common or even profane things – we invite you to come and be a part of something sacred.
We gather each week for our worship services. This is when our God comes to serve us through His holy Word and Sacraments (this is why our worship services are called “Divine Service”). God has promised to work through them. As we are seeking the forgiveness of our sins, we know God delivers the forgiveness earned by Christ on the cross to us here and now through things like Holy Baptism, Holy Absolution, the Word of God, and Holy Communion. As we are seeking to have stronger faith in Christ for our day to day challenges, we trust that God uses these things to help us for the week to come. As we seek to love each other and our neighbors more and more, we trust again that God will work through these things to help us. We firmly believe that God helps us through these sacred things. Worship is very important for us in our daily lives as God’s own children. We want you to be served in this same way.
When you come to Our Savior on a Sunday morning or Monday night, you will be welcomed and handed a two page bulletin. This bulletin has a lot of information on it. It tells you about the day of the Church Year we are in. The Church as a sacred thing has a calendar of its own which marks the life and teaching of Christ Jesus. The bulletin will tell you about what order of service we will be using from our hymnal (“Lutheran Service Book”) and the hymns that we sing this week. Usually hymns are carefully picked to draw upon the Scripture lessons for each week because they are a useful tool for us to learn God’s teachings. Those lessons from Scripture are chosen by our using a lectionary, which is a set of passages assigned for each week and repeating each year. You’ve heard the old adage – “repetition is the mother of all learning”. We take that to heart in regards to learning the teachings of Jesus. The sermon for each week is based upon these lessons as well. Our pastors spend hours crafting messages that are faithful to God’s Word and timely to your life as a Christian.
The bulletin will also help serve you as a guide through our service that day. The right column on the front has an outline of the order of service. Sacred time requires good order. Our worship time will reflect that and also demonstrate reverence for what goes on during this time. We invite you to participate by following along from the hymnal, hearing God’s Word, praying along with us, and singing God’s praises.
Our Pastors are called to serve us according to God’s Word. They take care of our souls. Like you may have a doctor for your eyes, your teeth, the rest of your body. While you may even seek out a counselor to help you with mental health matters, we have pastors to help care for our souls. To do this, they rely heavily on God’s Word (remember how we believe that God works through that Word). This means that every worship service is also a tool of their care for our souls. One important aspect of this that can be confusing is the celebration of the Lord’s Supper at each of our Divine Services. It may be confusing because we do not necessarily offer the Lord’s Supper to everyone. This practice is often called “Closed Communion”.
The Scriptures teach that the Lord’s Supper brings forgiveness of sins, life, and salvation. This is a great gift. The Scripture also however speak about how partaking of the Supper without being prepared by being baptized and taught all things can cause damage to your soul (and even your body). This is why our pastors take great care in providing the Lord’s Supper. Just like a doctor wouldn’t hand out just any medication to everyone, so also pastors cannot just hand out the Lord’s Supper to everyone. This is the loving and faithful practice of the Church since the time of the Apostles. Being prepared for receiving the Lord’s Supper at Our Savior means that you are baptized and have been catechized or instructed in the faith. This is why we have so much study opportunities in our congregation. If you are interested in partaking in the Lord’s Supper at Our Savior, please come early and talk to the pastors about it. Chances are that if you are a first time visitor that has not been a member in good standing of and Lutheran Church – Missouri Synod congregation the pastors will ask you to refrain until they can meet with you and work on your instruction. We cannot judge hearts and have to rely on things like church membership and knowledge that can only come through instruction and a relationship with you. Sacred things sometimes require taking time to prepare. This is well worth it and we know it will be for you as well.
Some interesting things you will note during worship:
The space we worship in is called a sanctuary. Sanctuary means a place of refuge. We don’t disappear from the world, especially since God wants us to live and serve in it. We do however take note that when we gather for worship it is sacred time away from the normal things of this world. Worship is a place of refuge from the world around us.
Reverence is important. God comes to us in His Word and Sacrament. The God who created all things.
Some things repeat. Repetition is the mother of all learning.
Some things are different each week. Hymns, prayers, lessons, sermons for some examples.
Sacred language gets used. The Church has its own lingo. It’s ancient. Sometimes it’s in another language. It takes time to learn. That’s ok. We’re here with you.
Children are welcome. We don’t want children to be away from our worship. They benefit from God’s work among us. We invite them forward at times for children’s messages. We rotate year by year covering the teachings of Jesus with the children. We want the whole family to be present.
The pastors dress differently. Our pastors wear vestments, or sacred clothing for the sacred time of worship. The different clothing is meant to identify them as pastors and servants among God’s people.
There are no screens. Face it, we have a lot of screens already in our ordinary life. Sacred worship doesn’t need to be the same.
Sometimes there is special music. We are so blessed as a congregation to have special musicians and groups that help assist our worship.
Sacred space gets adorned. We have special banners and cloths that adorn our pulpit (where sermons are preached), lectern (where the Scriptures are read), and the altar (where the Lord’s Supper sits). We also will decorate special for certain seasons of the Church Year (you should see our sanctuary at Christmas).