Welcome to First Lutheran Church, Tooele Utah! It brings us great joy to have you worshiping with us this Sunday morning, as we celebrate Christ's victorious resurrection on the third day, Sunday. We would like to share with you a little bit about us and the service you are about to experience.
We worship using the historical liturgy of the Christian Church called the Divine Service. This liturgy predates even the church of the New Testament, finding its source in the ancient worship forms of God's people in the Jewish synagogue and temple. Though possibly foreign to us, it is the way Jesus worshiped growing up in Nazareth, and the way the Apostle Paul worshiped when he visited the synagogues of the Diaspora, proclaiming the gospel of Jesus Christ, which is the power of salvation for all people. Indeed, this liturgy is foreign to all the earth, because it is grounded not in any human culture, but in God's eternal word, and the heavenly worship of angels, archangels and all the company of heaven. So it is that the church, from its earliest days, adopted the Divine Service of the synagogue, and temple, and modified it in respect to the revelation and resurrection of Christ.
The church calls it the Divine Service because God serves us through it, and we in turn serve Him. For just as "The Son of Man (Jesus) came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many." (Mark 10:45 (ESV) So He continues to come and serve us through His word and sacraments, Baptism and the Lord's Supper. Here He serves us with the gifts He won for us on the cross, the gifts of life and salvation found in the forgiveness of sins. And we in turn serve Him in the example of the Apostle Peter's mother in law: "He touched her hand, and the fever left her, and she rose and began to serve Him." (Matthew 8:15 (ESV) For only after Christ forgives us, heals us, and restores us to life, are we made ready to serve Him in praise, thanksgiving and the works He has prepared for us. "For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them." (Ephes. 2:10 (ESV)
It is our pleasure to have you worshiping, and sharing God's many blessings and comforts this morning. We invite you to stay for coffee and fellowship after the service. Please sign our guest book, and if you would like a visit from the pastor, leave a phone number where you can be reached. Thank you for joining us today."
I publish this at the front of my bulletins every Sunday. I know some read it. I think it does help set the stage for visitors who are not familiar with our worship practices, and helps them feel a bit more comfortable. Perhaps it also helps the visitor process what has happened when he returns home. I find that it takes the wind out of the sails of those who might be offended by the liturgical service. Evangelicals are always asking "what would Jesus do?" Here they find out he probably wouldn't be worshiping with a rock band. It isn't a legalistic argument saying Jesus worshiped in this way, therefore he have to. But it is more along the lines Jesus worshiped this way, and if it was good enough for him, it is good enough for me. It also more or less shows that he has given his seal of approval to this form of worship. But that would be a more legalistic argument, which isn't to say it isn't a valid argument.