Why do you go to worship? Why does your church use so many scripture readings? Why do you have communion every Sunday? Always pray the Lord’s prayer right before?
You’re new to church, you come in and someone hands you a bulletin: page after page of songs, prayers, standing, sitting, italicized instructions, and you think to yourself “what is all this?” It may feel like you’ve just walked into orchestra practice, viola in hand, and been given a score. It’s perhaps a good parallel: we’re not here as an audience at a show, but as participants, to play: and there is depth and richness to these traditions, songs,and how it all fits together. And yet, it’s really pretty simple, and life-giving, as we learn it.
Each Sunday, from January 6th to February 10th:
- During worship, scripture and sermon as well as bulletin front cover and interior text will help explain one aspect of worship – so we think about what we do in a new way.
- At around 9:45am (between services) there will be opportunities for training in various aspects of worship assistance, including two new roles: homebound communion distribution, and assisting minister (see below).
- “Worship Matters,” an accessible new curriculum / book from Augsburg Fortress – written by young leaders in the ELCA – will be made available and connect to Sunday worship and discussions.
January 6th –Why Do We Worship?
“Minimalist Worship Service” – this one Sunday, worship is simplified to the bare essence of what we do. (Think of a Japanese teahouse with bare floor and simple furnishings …)
Scripture: Wise men come from the East to worship Jesus.
Themes: Why worship? Is it required when you’re a Christians? Why do we worship with this pattern, which is so different from other Christians? Does it really matter?
January 13th – Encountering God in Word.
Scripture: At Jesus’ baptism, he hears a voice: “this is my Son the beloved, with whom I am well pleased.”
Themes: What’s the “Word of God,” and what does it have to do with the Bible? Why do we use a lectionary of assigned readings? What’s a sermon, and what do I listen for? Why follow seasons of the church year?
Training: Lectors, possibly Cantors / Song leaders.
January 19th (Saturday), 10am, fellowship hall – Communion instruction for kids. Instruction in the meaning and practice of Holy Communion is lifelong! For those kids (age 6 and up) who haven’t begun this learning, join us for this fun, interactive time of learning with Pastor Hillesland!
January 20th – Encountering God in the Sacraments
Scripture: At Cana Jesus turns water into wine.
Themes: What’s a Sacrament? Mystery or Magic? Closer look at the Rite of Holy Communion – why every week? What do all those prayers mean before Communion? Why kneel? Stand?
Training, introducing a new ministry: Communion to homebound members. Once a month (or as often as we can) the congregation – during worship – prays over bread and wine, body and blood of Christ, as they are sent out among people who can’t make it to church. That day, or shortly thereafter, volunteers bring the sacrament. It’s a wonderful way to stay connected beyond our doors! Join us if you are interested in learning about this ministry – no commitment necessary.
January 27th – RIC Sunday. Paul says every part of the body is necessary to worship. On this Sunday – celebrated in common by Reconciled in Christ congregations throughout the nation – we recommit to our welcome statement.
February 3rd – Worship and the World.
Scripture: Jeremiah and Jesus are sent into the world. Paul says “love does not insist on its own way.”
Themes: What does worship have to do with love for our neighbor? Why do we sing music from other cultures?
Training: Ushers and Greeters.
February 10th – Prayer and Praise.
Scripture: On the mountain of Transfiguration, the disciples came to silence in the presence of God.
Themes: Posture and gestures in worship (kneeling, prayer, sign of the cross). What’s the prayer of the day? Why do we do intercessions that way? Where is there silence in worship?
Training: new role, Assisting Ministers – a new role for St Luke. Assisting ministers represent the people before God, primarily by preparing and leading the prayers of the people (currently read by lectors). They also lead other prayers, such as the Kyrie, Offertory and Dismissal. They assist at communion. Again, come if you are interested, no commitment necessary.