Liturgial Lutheran Worship
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The divine service typically begins with an Opening Hymn, usually a hymn of invocation or a hymn of praise. This is often connected with the season of the church year (Advent, Christmas, Lent, Easter, Pentecost, etc.), bringing us back into God’s time after a week of worldly time. 

The liturgy itself begins with the Invocation. To invoke is to call upon God to be present in our midst. Since this is the name Jesus gave to baptize with—Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, it identifies us as His people, not a random assembly but a very definite gathering, with a common calling and purpose. So we’re remembering the beginning of our Christian lives, and the source of our salvation. 

But we don’t barge into God’s presence as if we had a perfect right to be there. The reality of sin is present and active, and we can’t just pretend it doesn’t exist. In fact, sin erects a barrier between the Lord and us, and God alone can break it down. The death of Christ shows our sins to be deadly serious, yet it also brings God’s forgiveness. So now, facing the Holy God, we confess our sins and desire to be restored in His grace.

Then the pastor speaks the word of God’s forgiveness, or absolution, to the worshipping congregation. This is in accordance with the Lord’s command, as with Jesus sending His disciples with authority in the Spirit, and also in behalf of each Christian gathered here, since it is the church, or the priesthood of all believers, that has been entrusted with the power of confession and absolution. 
Next is the Introit, which comes from the Latin word for “entrance”. Thus it’s typically an entrance psalm, with half verses spoken responsively. There’s also an antiphon that can begin and end the Introit and highlights the main thought. This Introit brings us before God in praise and generally relates to the theme of the day. Having received again the good news of forgiveness, we’re ready to stand before God, and in spirit walk up to the altar. With gratitude, we praise the changeless Creator by giving glory to Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. 

Then we continue with the Kyrie. Sometimes this is the three-fold plea for mercy; other times it’s the five short prayers spoken by the assistant, with the congregation responding, “Lord, have mercy.” We’re looking to the Lord for help, acknowledging Him as our only leader, beseeching Him for benevolence, with the words the ancient Greeks shouted as their ruler came into their towns: Kyrie eleison!  

Confident that our king will come to help us, we unite our voices by singing the Hymn of Praise, also known as the Gloria in Excelsis for the first line, “Glory to God in the highest.” 
One of the settings we use is an echo of the song of the angels at Bethlehem on the first Christmas. The other emphasizes the victory which our God has given to us, using some of the language we find in the book of Revelation. This one especially ties in with the celebration of the communion meal, acknowledging Jesus’ great victory over sin and death, which His body and blood convey to us.

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John Lutheran Church, 607 S. E. 9th Street, Pryor, OK 74361 
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