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December 2009 / January 2010

The narrative commentary on the Divine Service was adapted from a piece written by Professor John Pless. It was suggested that the notes from the Narrative Service on
Nov. 8, should be made available for the congregation and others who might be interested. Here is part 1.

The high and holy worship of God is faith in Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord. Such faith is created and sustained by God’s Service to us. In the Divine Service, the Lord comes to us in His Word and Sacrament to bless and enliven us with His gifts. This Service is not something we do for God, but His service to us to be received in faith. The “liturgy” is God’s work. He gives, we receive. Before the Divine Service begins, the organ introduces us to the theme found in the Scripture readings with appropriate pre-service music. Each part of the Divine Service will be introduced with a short commentary, designed to help us understand the structure and Biblical content of the Divine Service, so that we might more fully rejoice in the gifts that our Savior gives us in His liturgy. (These comments will serve in the place of the Sermon today.)

Now we sing the Hymn of Invocation.

- Hymn of Invocation–


From God’s Word, we know that wherever God puts His Name, there He is to bless. In the Old Testament, the Temple was the place where God graciously caused His Name to be present.

God has put His Name-Father, Son, and Holy Spirit on you in Holy Baptism. The Divine Service begins “In the Name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.” Every Divine Service is for the hallowing of the Lord’s Name, which the Small Catechism reminds us is done “When the Word of God is taught in its truth and purity and we as the children of God, also lead a holy life according to it.”

- Invocation–


It is only through the forgiveness of sins that we enter into the life of heaven. To confess your sins is to speak the truth about your life. This truth you learn from the Word of God and He, through the Holy Spirit, teaches you to say what He says (same/say). God seeks that truth in the heart and on the lips. To confess your sin is to same/say “Amen” to God’s just verdict that you have sinned against Him and so deserve only death and hell.

The truth of your sinfulness is answered by the truth of God’s forgiveness for the sake of the suffering and death of His Son. From the lips of a man “called and ordained” as a servant of the Word, your ears hear God Himself speaking absolution, that is, the forgiveness of sins. To that forgiveness, faith says “Amen,” to this verdict of God, “Amen” is the great word of worship; it indicates that the gift has been received.

Confession and Absolution – To be continued


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