Our Sunday Service
Welcome in Jesus’ name! We pray for God’s richest blessings to you when you come to worship with us! Since faith and trust in Jesus is the highest worship of God, our services focus on the preaching of the Gospel, teaching God’s Word, and praise and singing that teaches and enlivens. (John 4:24; Colossians 3:16; Psalm 98:1-2; Ecclesiastes 5:1)
We use the liturgy or service of the Western Church. It can be strange for some who grew up in a more informal worship setting, but we hope it will not turn you away! If you give it some time, we think you will understand why we love it and use it. A beautiful explanation of the main parts of the liturgy (called divine service) can be found in this article called “Why Go to Church?” http://christforus.org/Papers/Content/why_go_to_church.html
The Lord’s Supper
We cherish the Lord’s Supper very much. We thank God for the comfort He gives us in this meal and the unity that He creates through His Word. Since God wants us to be of one mind when we commune, we wait to commune those who haven’t been instructed in the teaching of the apostles as we know them in the Bible and teach them in the Lutheran Confessions.
Our communion statement is as follows:
In addition to receiving Christ’s gift of forgiveness and His true Body and Blood in the Sacrament of the Altar, all those who commune at our altar also make a confession of the faith as we believe and teach as a congregation of The Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod, thereby witnessing to our doctrinal unity in the Christian faith. For this reason, and in the interest of faithful pastoral care for all in attendance, if you are not a member of this congregation, have not communed here previously, and have not yet spoken to our pastor, please refrain from coming forward to the altar. Speaking to our pastor prior to communing even if you are a member of another LCMS congregation, is greatly appreciated. Thank you for honoring our practice. If you desire to learn more about these beliefs, or if you are interested in learning how to become a member of this church, we invite you to arrange for a time to visit with our pastor. Please also take a copy of the pamphlet “This is the Feast” which is found in the pew pad folios and in the narthex.
We know that we should prepare ourselves to receive the Lord’s Supper through repentance and faith. Please do not feel pressure from us to commune when you do not consider yourself prepared. For those who need it, we offer the Lord’s Supper here every Sunday, on all major festivals, and at various other minor festivals when we are able to gather during the week. The sacrament of the altar was a regular and major feature of congregational worship in the Early Church (Acts 2:42; 20:7; 1 Cor. 11:20,33). In Reformation times our churches celebrated the Sacrament ‘every Sunday and on other festivals.'(Apology XXIV 1).” They did so because of their great awareness of just what the Sacrament is, and how much we need it. Until Jesus comes again to new our bodies, we will still be sinners, and so we need the great comfort the Lord’s Supper gives.
The Use of the Chalice
If there is one place where we who confess the same truths should be as one it is at the altar. We are one body- the Communion of Saints, just as we share and confess one faith. Concerns raised regarding the common cup are normally two-fold. First, there may be practical questions of how to receive and hold it. The communicant takes the bottom of the chalice as the pastor guides it to his lips. Some also have concerns about potentially receiving germs. Rest assured that the scientific community has clearly and repeatedly demonstrated that such fears are fortunately unfounded.
The following piece entitled “the Common Cup and Disease” is quoted in an appendix to the Altar Guild Manual (CPH, 1996, authorized by the LCMS Commission on Worship): Can I get sick from using the common cup? No! The use of the common cup was traditional in all Christian churches until this century and was eliminated because of fears about sanitary matters concerning the transmission of disease…. A thorough study on the use of the common cup was done by professors Burroughs and Hemmers in 1965 and was reported in the Journal of Infectious Diseases. Their conclusion was: Experiments on the transmission of organisms from one person to another by common use of the chalice showed that 0.001% of the organisms transferred even under the most favorable conditions and when conditions approximated those of actual use, no transmission could be detected. Recent concerns about the transmission of AIDS confirm this study. Dr. David Ho in the New England Journal of Medicine (December 1985) provided documentation that verified that there was no spread of the AIDS virus in saliva through common eating or drinking utensils…. Lutherans should remember that Martin Luther restored the cup when Roman Catholics had all but eliminated it from the peoples’ Communion. He did it because his loyalty was to the command of Christ in the Bible. The use of the common cup was normative until the late nineteenth century and was eliminated in those churches in which Communion was not understood as being the Body and Blood of Christ. Some Lutherans allow other methods of distribution, believing that the method of distribution does not matter. However, the use of the common chalice retains that which Our Lord indicated was His desire. And its effect, where used, is to transmit not only salvation but also the oneness that comes from sharing the Blood of Christ from the Chalice in common with one’s sisters and brothers.
To summarize, the chalice
- is Scriptural. It is the exact method used by Christ and is what He was referring to when He said, “Drink of it all of you.”
- emphasizes Biblical unity contrary to individualism;
- imitates the practice of Christ, His disciples, the early church, the church catholic and our Lutheran forefathers,
- is a confession of faith that Christ would not give us anything that would contain that which would harm us;
- is preferable for the very reasons it has gone into disuse and is quite simple and practical to administer,
Even though this is our practice, we do not want to burden anyone’s conscience. If someone is still sincerely concerned about receiving the chalice, the pastor will make every opportunity to provide them with an individual cup. However, we do ask that those who have concerns arrange a time to meet with the pastor privately beforehand. Again, he is more than happy to speak with you. The wine received in an individual cup is just as much the blood of Christ with all His promises as wine received from the common cup.