Worship with Us
We believe God reaches out to us primarily through his Holy Word and blessed Sacraments; the Bible, the Gospel proclaimed in the sermon, Holy Baptism and the weekly celebrations of Holy Communion.
We are gathered together by the prompting power of God the Holy Spirit to receive enlightenment for this journey called life. Here we receive new strength from the Word of God to carry on as people, while we are constantly being filled with new hope in a fallen and despairing world.
The Divine Service
Preparation for Worship
In gathering for our corporate public worship services, we are to enter the sanctuary with reverence. We take time to pray that our hearts and minds will be properly focused on the things of God while in this sacred and holy place. These are the eternal things of God which cannot be seen with the human eye but only become visible to us through “the enlightened eyes of our hearts” (Ephesians 1:18).
At the beginning of the service, marked by the entrance hymn, the congregation turns and faces the processional cross being carried forth. In doing so, we recall Jesus’ own promise prior to his crucifixion. “And I, when I am lifted up, will draw all people unto myself” (John 12:32).
After the confession of our sins and pronouncement of God’s forgiveness, the historic prayers of the Kyrie,” Greek for “Lord, have mercy,” are prayed and the hymn of praise is offered.
Hearing and Pondering God’s Word
This is when the second part of the liturgy begins fully centered on the Word of God. A sermon responds to the appointed Bible readings by proclaiming the Gospel and its application to our daily lives.
The Sacrament of the Altar
The third part of the liturgy begins with the celebration of the Lord’s Supper, also known as Holy Communion or the Holy Eucharist. This holy meal is the central most aspect of Christian worship. Christ calls to our remembrance the sacrifice he made for us for the forgiveness of our sins, and comes to us with his true body and true blood in a supernatural way that impresses his real presence upon us, through the eating of the consecrated bread and drinking of the consecrated wine.
Refreshed, forgiven and inspired, we reach the closing words of the liturgy in the Benediction. In these words we are sent out into the world to share the redeeming Word of God with all peoples, as we work for peace and justice and seek to serve God through our service to other people.
At the time of the Reformation, Martin Luther translated many Latin and Greek hymns into the native language of the German people. The hymns we sing from the Lutheran Service Book (LSB, 2006) are, to a large degree, English translations of great hymns dating from the time of the 16th century Reformation of the Church to the present era.
On the chief festival days of the liturgical church year, the celebration of the Divine Service is heightened by the use of a Gospel procession. As the entrance hymn begins the processional cross now has a torch on either side to enhance its prominence and the Holy Bible is carried to honor the sacred Scriptures of the Old and New Testaments as the inspired Word of God (2 Timothy 3:16).
Before the Gospel lesson is read, the processional cross, torches and Holy Bible are carried to the center of the worshiping congregation to remind us of our Lord’s incarnation, “The Word becoming flesh and dwelling among us full of grace and truth” (John 1:14). This action stresses the intimacy of our Lord Jesus in our lives.
An offering is received later in the service to help support the future of Mount Olive and our service to others. We pray these gifts support God’s work.
Sign of the Cross
Making the sign of the cross is an important reminder of our baptisms in the name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. Dr. Martin Luther included this action in his Small and Large Catechisms.
As a reminder that we are in a sacred place, many worshipers will bow as they pass in front of the altar. We also kneel in celebration of Holy Communion (if you are unable to kneel, feel free to stand). These signals of humility remind us the Triune God comes to us and sustains us throughout this earthly journey.
White robes called albs (“alba” is the Latin word for white) are worn by ministers serving as worship leaders. The white symbolizes “putting on of Christ,” or living out our baptisms. Stoles are also worn by ordained ministers; these colored shawls, sometimes ornately decorated, reflect the liturgical season. They are also taken as clergy’s yoke of Christ’s service (Matthew 11:29). At times the pastor leading Holy Communion wears a chasuble, a colorful, decorated poncho.
We are reminded of our baptism by the font filled with water at the front of the church. We enter the Christian life through the sacrament of Holy Baptism. The paschal candle is also a baptismal symbol. It is lit during the Easter season, baptisms and funerals. It reminds us of Jesus’ victory (and thus our victory) over death.