My church newsletter column for St. Peter Lutheran Church, Greene, Iowa, for June, 2017.
A Word on Worship
O come, let us worship and bow down, let us kneel before the Lord, our Maker!
In our congregation, we do many activities including Sunday School, serving meals, community events, fellowship opportunities, and far too many more to list. But our defining activity is worshiping God. Without worship services, we would not be a church. We provide social services and work for justice, but so do other organizations. We provide entertainment and social activities, but so do other organizations. Only the church has worship.
In Article 7 of the Augsburg Confession, one of our Lutheran foundational documents, we read, “The church is the assembly of all believers among whom the gospel is purely preached and the holy sacraments are administered according to the gospel.” The definition of church is God’s people gathered in worship!
One of the joys of being Lutheran is that we have freedom in how we worship, according to local circumstances, needs, and traditions. All Lutheran worship involves gathering together, reading and hearing the Word of God, participating in the Sacraments, and being sent back into the world., but within that framework, Lutheran worship has almost infinite potential for variety. As Article 7 continues, “It is not necessary for the true unity of the Christian church that uniform ceremonies instituted by human beings, be observed everywhere.” Not all Lutherans worship the same way!
This freedom is evident within our own congregation. Each of our worship services is unique, and from week to week, worship looks a little different as we seek to reflect the theme of the day and encounter God with fresh eyes.
This summer, we’re trying something new, and I ask for your flexibility and joyful participation. Beginning June 4th, we will be having one worship service on Sunday mornings at 9:30 am. The Saturday evening worship service will continue at 6:00 pm. When Sunday School resumes in August, we’ll return to the school-year schedule of two Sunday morning worship services.
Each Sunday, we’ll gather at 9:30 am to worship God together. Some weeks, our worship will look more traditional with liturgy from the green hymnal and singing led by the organ. Other weeks, it will feel closer to the praise service with different music styles and singing accompanied by guitar or piano. Some Sundays we’ll be in the grand worship space of the sanctuary. Other weeks, we’ll gather in the more accessible, intimate fellowship hall worship space.
My hope is that this variety in worship service styles will help you to hear the good news of Jesus Christ in new ways. People who usually worship at different services will be able to praise God together. Now, some weeks, worship may not be in your preferred style. That’s ok! I trust you will still participate in worshiping our Lord, because as God’s people, the church, that’s what we do.
If you have ideas throughout the summer for how we can better shape our worship, please share them with myself, the worship committee, or anyone on church council.
See you in worship!
-Pastor Daniel Flucke