The order of service that we follow is from the front part of the Evangelical Lutheran Hymnary. For the convenience of worshipers, the entire text of the service – with the exception of the hymns – is printed in the bulletin. (The music for those parts of the service that are sung can be found in the Hymnary.)
The Lord’s Supper is available in our congregation every Sunday. We believe that participation in Holy Communion, in which the true body and blood of Jesus are present, distributed, and received, should be preceded by a course of instruction in the teachings of Scripture and of our church concerning this sacrament and other important articles of faith. In this way, communicants can be properly prepared for their special encounter with the living Lord. This is in keeping with St. Paul’s exhortation: “But let a man examine himself, and so let him eat of the bread and drink of the cup” (1 Cor. 11:28, NKJV). And this is in keeping with his warning: “Therefore whoever eats this bread or drinks this cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner will be guilty of the body and blood of the Lord” (1 Cor. 11:27, NKJV). We also believe that such participation serves as a public testimony of unity in faith among those who are communing together, in keeping with St. Paul’s statement: “For we, though many, are one bread and one body; for we all partake of that one bread” (1 Cor. 10:17, NKJV). We, therefore, do not follow an “open Communion” practice. But even if you will not be communing with us on your first visit, God’s grace and forgiveness will still be offered to you in his saving gospel, as proclaimed in the Absolution, in the Scripture readings, in the sermon, and in the hymns.
Gathering before the Lord to hear his Word and to offer him our prayers is a serious matter. It is not to be done in a frivolous or lighthearted manner, but with reverence and sobriety. When we enter into the Lord’s presence in worship, we are, in a sense, transported into a higher realm – a sacred realm of eternal realities. Our use of symbolism and ceremony testifies to our conviction that the worship of Almighty God is something special, and unlike anything else we do in other areas of life in this world. “Therefore let us be grateful for receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, and thus let us offer to God acceptable worship, with reverence and awe, for our God is a consuming fire” (Heb. 12:28-29, ESV).