Worship at St. Michael’s Lutheran Church
God’s people have been worshipping together for a very long time and we receive from that tradition a great gift and blessing. When you join us, you may sing songs written yesterday or a thousand and more years ago. We believe that when Christ gathers us, he gathers us with whole Christian Church of all time around an eternal throne and altar. Our music, our liturgy, is the participation of this moment in that great and beautiful movement.
What Is Liturgical Worship?
Liturgical worship recognizes that we are part of a vast and sacred movement of peoples which crosses centuries and continents. You will notice several elements of that sacredness when you come to worship at St. Michael’s.
- Sacred Space – St Michaels has set aside space as sacred. There is an altar, we acknowledge its sacred character, bowing and kneeling. The altar, pulpit, and font form focus points for the worshipper, spaces in which God brings us his gifts.
- Sacred People – The next thing you might notice is that the pastor wears a special garment, usually a white robe with colored stoles or a larger, brightly colored garment over that robe called a chausable. Assistants wear white robes as well. People are set aside for their roles in worship. Called into service, they are sacred to us.
- Sacred Time – In worship at St. Michael’s, we will make use of a regular cycle of scripture readings. Those readings follow a sacred calendar. Many people know some elements of that calendar. Christmas and Easter are the most familiar days on the sacred calendar, but the calendar appoints readings and psalms for every Sunday of the year and many festival days as well. Like our other calendars, the sacred calendar has seasons which direct our attention to different aspects of God, His work among us, and the narrative salvation. Not every day is the same – some are holier and others are regular times in which the celebrations are set aside in order to grow and ponder the mysteries of God.
- Sacred Words and Music – the worship you will experience at St. Michael’s lives in a tension between the transcendent and mundane. Some elements speak to us in the language we are familiar with. Sermons should speak to people in the idioms of their lives. Some music and some words, however, sound alien and strange. But this is to be expected. We are being called out of this sinful world and into a holy world. We will have to practice a new vocabulary and tune our ears to a different musical key. You will find both the familiar and the strange in liturgical worship.
Liturgical worship also unites us with people around the world and across centuries. The readings we hear this morning are being heard in churches of many traditions and on every inhabited continent and in many different languages. This same cycle of readings, with some adaptation, has been heard by Christian people for centuries. Some elements are reflective of the worship of God’s ancient Israelite people.