Welcome to an explanation of the Lord’s Day
Carmel Presbyterian Church Order of Worship. Presbyterian worship usually includes several major parts.
God calls us to worship. A call to worship, hymn of praise, the confession and pardon, and the passing of the peace of Christ usually make up the opening part of the worship service. The Call to Worship, led by the worship leader, reminds us that Christian worship centers on God and not ourselves. The Hymn of Praise unites us in praise, as well as tells of God’s greatness, majesty, love and goodness. In the Prayer of Confession, the gathered congregation confesses our sins and shortcomings as part of the human family of God. We all need God’s pardon and forgiveness for our sins. The Assurance of Pardon states that God hears our prayer of confession and gives us cleansing forgiveness of our sins in Jesus Christ. We are reminded of the promises of God’s love and redemption, and that in Jesus Christ we are forgiven and part of his new creation. Passing of the Peace: Because we have been reconciled to God in Jesus Christ, we are also called to be reconciled with one another. We extend Christ’s peace to one another as signs of being reconciled and at peace with each other.
For Presbyterians, reading, proclaiming, and hearing God’s Word form the central core of worship. We listen for God’s Word through scripture readings, anthems, psalms, and the Word proclaimed in the sermon for the day. During this time we are to listen for God to speak to us so that we may respond. The Children’s Message is an opportunity for teaching children about God, worship, or a scripture lesson of the day. Then younger children leave for Children’s Worship time. The Prayer for Illumination calls upon the Holy Spirit to silence any voice but God’s own, that we may receive what God is saying to us through the Bible. Scripture lessons from the Revised Common Lectionary used by Carmel include an Old Testament lesson, a Psalm sung or read, an Epistle lesson written to the churches of the New Testament, and a Gospel lesson which witnesses to Jesus’ life and ministry. In the Sermon, God’s word is proclaimed by the preacher of the day, using one of the day’s biblical texts as the foundation. Preaching is the communication of God’s will and purposes through the human words of the preacher. The sermon may challenge, inform, encourage, comfort, and inspire, but always it will call for deeper commitment to faith and trust in Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior.
Responding to The Word
After hearing God’s word, a Hymn lets us respond in song, often to a major theme of the sermon. Through hymns, we are able to express our faith through the words and music of others with whom we share Christian faith. Baptism or Reception of New Members is sometimes part of the response to the Word. In the Pastoral Prayer, we share the prayer concerns of the congregation; intercede on behalf of the church, the world, our nation and its leaders, as well as others living in hardship or distress or mourning the loss of loved ones. We also pray for ourselves and the Spirit enabling us to live out the challenges of the Scriptures. We close by praying together the Lord’s Prayer. Another form of response is the Offering of our tithes and gifts to God. Our choir proclaims the gospel through the gift of music in the Offertory Anthem. Monthly and in designated special services, The Sacrament of the Lord’s Supper is celebrated. Through the elements of bread and wine, the Risen Lord gives us the gift of himself—his body and blood—to nourish and strengthen us in faith and faithfulness. At various times the sacrament is served in the pews by Elders and Deacons; at others, the congregation comes forward to receive the bread and wine or grape juice.
Bearing God’s word into the World
The congregation responds by singing the final hymn. A charge and blessing by the pastor send the congregation into the world to love and serve the Lord through the power of the Holy Spirit.
Text adapted from Dr. Donald K. McKim and Dr. James W. Thornton