Tuesday, January 6, 2009

The Divine Service 02 - the start of the Service of the Word

This is the second installment in a bush league introduction to the divine service.  In the first installment we ran into first element of the divine service, confession and absolution.  God confronted us with our sin, we responded by confessing, and God responded by proclaiming forgiveness of confessed sin through His divinely appointed messenger, the pastor.  Now we move into the second element of the divine service, the service of the Word.

It is typical at this time in a service to have an introit, a psalm, or a hymn.  In any case, what is happening is that the congregation is responding to the Lord yet again, asking his presence among us in grace.  After the hymn or psalm, we would expect to move into a Kyrie, the historic part of the Mass in which we ask the Lord to have mercy on his people.  For history buffs, it's interesting to note that this is the only part of the traditional Mass which was sung in Greek as opposed to Latin, even up to the 20th Century.  The content of the Kyrie is something we can all stand to remember.  We pray the Lord will have mercy on us, giving us peace, bringing peace and salvation to the world, nurturing the Church, bringing us into unity in Christ.

After the Kyrie, during most seasons the church sings another hymn before singing a Gloria - "Glory in the highest to God" in which we reflect on Christ's work to take away our sin.  Then as a congregation we pray a prayer which is tailored to the particular Sunday in the Church calendar.  It goes along with the Bible readings for the day and asks God's presence with his people.

If you have been watching the general up and down arrow pattern of the divine service, you're seeing that this rather lengthy portion of the service has had a strong flow from congregation to God, singing His praises and asking Him to be with us in mercy.  We haven't really read Scripture, though we have possibly proclaimed the Scripture in a Psalm.  But most everything has been directed from the congregation toward God rather than consisting of a lot of proclamation from God to man.  We're all working together to call upon God for his merciful gifts.

In the next installment of these posts we'll get to the Bible reading in the divine service, so we'll see God speaking to man again.


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