Liturgial Lutheran Worship
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Then begins the second part of the service leading up to the second climax, the Lord’s Supper. As we approach God on intimate terms the Offertory is sung. There are three options—one is a prayer for renewal that comes directly from Psalm 51. Another is taken from Psalm 116, emphasizing our thankful response to God’s gifts to us. The third speaks in terms of the vines and grain that are seen in the communion meal, as we ask God to bring His presence to our table, a small picture of the feast experienced in heaven.

As followers of Jesus, we are to pray for all people. In concert with the Christian church around the world, we clasp hands and speak with God who has given us the privilege of Prayer. General petitions are prayed along with special intercessions focused on God’s good care for the people around us. 

 The Communion service proper begins with the Salutation, another verbal greeting. We encourage each other to lift our hearts and thoughts above all earthly and self-centered concerns. The Proper Preface then spoken is tied to the season in the church year and highlights the specific reason for thanksgiving. 

Next we unite our praises with the angels and with the church in heaven and on earth. As we sing the Sanctus, heaven touches earth and earth is caught up into heaven. Isaiah was granted a vision of heaven in which he saw hosts adoring God with these words. We unite with them in the adoration before the throne of God. A second aspect of the song revolves around “Hosanna,” a Hebrew word that means “Lord, save” and was employed as praise for a king. It was shouted at Christ’s entry into Jerusalem, and reminds us that the Lord is going to enter our hearts through the sacrament.

A Prayer of Thanksgiving that asks the Spirit to come to us is spoken, followed by the Lord’s Prayer, the table prayer of the family of God. We’re reminded that the author of that prayer is the Lamb who was sacrificed on the cross. He is the living high priest who intercedes for us and makes our prayer effective.

With the Words of Institution, the Words of Our Lord, in Latin the Verba, the pastor consecrates the bread and wine, setting them apart for use in the sacrament. We use the words of Jesus on Maundy Thursday to show that the Supper was established by our Lord Himself. He assures us that He is bodily present in the bread and wine to give us forgiveness of sins and continued fellowship with Him by faith.

The congregation prays that the Peace of the Lord, which we have heard about and are about to receive, will never leave us and will comfort and strengthen us forever. As the pastor and elders commune one another, the congregation sings the Agnus Dei, the “Lamb of God.” These words of praise come from John the Baptist when he saw Jesus as the Messiah and Savior. We recognize the same Lamb of God among us in the bread and wine. We pray that He will have mercy on us, hear our prayers, and grant us His peace.

Then comes the time we’ve been waiting for and building up to—Reception of the holy meal. People meet their God; earth is joined to heaven, Jesus is present with His body and blood. We commune with each other here, we are directly connected to the living God, and we are in fellowship with our brothers and sisters in Christ around the world and in heaven above. 

After the last ones have communed, we sing a Song of Praise to God. One of these songs speaks of our responsibility to share Jesus with others as one way to say thanks to Him for His gifts. The other, the Nunc Dimmitis, “Lord, now let depart,” comes from the words of Simeon in the temple as he held the baby Jesus in his arms. We too have seen our salvation, Christ Jesus. We reflect His light to all people, we tell everyone what He has done. As we prepare to depart the worship service, we do so with that as our goal, having been filled again with the very power of God.

From there the service moves rapidly to a close. As we do with every meal, we give thanks to God for His gifts. Finally we take into our lives the Benediction of God, the Lord’s good word of blessing. He desires to go with us and bless our work and rest and pleasure. We live our lives in unity with Father, Son and Holy Spirit. As Aaron, first high priest of God’s Old Testament people, did, so now the pastor speaks the great blessings of God Himself. With the sign of the cross of Jesus, the signature of our Savior is stamped upon our worship and we are again reminded of the baptismal covenant. The response is Amen—“Yes, Lord, let it be so.” From beginning to end the emphasis has been on the presence and work of the Triune God. 

 Having experienced the splendor of God’s greatness, grace, and glory through the liturgy, we leave strengthened to continue our worship of God in our daily lives. And the Closing Hymn sends us on our way—Go in peace, serve the Lord, thanks be to God!

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John Lutheran Church, 607 S. E. 9th Street, Pryor, OK 74361 
Church Office: (918) 825-1926