The Pastor's Windshield for October 2023

Oh come, let us sing to the Lord; 
let us make a joyful noise to the rock of our salvation!

Let us come into his presence with thanksgiving;
let us make a joyful noise to him with songs of praise!

For the Lord is a great God,
and a great King above all gods.

Oh come, let us worship and bow down;
let us kneel before the Lord, our Maker!

For he is our God,
and we are the people of his pasture,
and the sheep of his hand.
(Psalm 95:1-3, 6-7a)

The Psalmist invites us to come before the Lord, our Maker, in worship. Public worship is one of the most basic elements of practicing biblical faith, both for God’s people in Old Testament times and for us living in the New Testament. However, it can be easy for us to take the content of worship services for granted or perhaps never even learn what certain things mean and why they matter.

Think about the following questions: Why do we do what we do in a worship service? What does God’s Word teach us about the “essentials” of Christian worship? What is meant by the title often used in our Lutheran circles, “Divine Service”? Why do Lutheran worship services look and sound different from some other Christian congregations? There are many important questions like these regarding Christian worship in general and our Lutheran theology in particular. To discuss these questions and explore the meaning and practice of worship in greater detail, we’ll be focusing on Christian worship as our new Sunday Bible study, beginning on Sun, October 22 at 9:00am.

In our study, we’ll take a closer look at the overall purpose of public worship, the individual elements of the service, the flow of the Church Year, the schedule of Scripture readings (known as the “Lectionary”), and Christian hymns. We’ll also learn more about the types of services in our Lutheran Service Book hymnal along with some of its additional features. The study will also be tailored to your questions and the aspects of worship that you have questions about. 

A hymn which is new in the Lutheran Service Book is #602, “The Gifts Christ Freely Gives.” I think it does a great job of portraying what is happening when we gather each Sunday: we’re receiving Christ’s gracious gifts! Yes, we’re glorifying and praising Him, but that is only one dimension of the service. Notice how the hymn traces Christ’s gifts through the flow of the service, from our Baptism (and baptismal remembrance with the Invocation), to Confession and Absolution, to God’s Word read and proclaimed for us, to the reception of Christ’s body and blood in the Sacrament of the Altar.

1 The gifts Christ freely gives
    He gives to you and me
To be His Church, His bride,
    His chosen, saved and free!
Saints blest with these rich gifts
    Are children who proclaim
That they were won by Christ
    And cling to His strong name.

2 The gifts flow from the font
    Where He calls us His own;
New life He gives that makes
    Us His and His alone.
Here He forgives our sins
    With water and His Word;
The triune God Himself
    Gives pow’r to call Him Lord.

3 The gifts of grace and peace
    From absolution flow;
The pastor’s words are Christ’s
    For us to trust and know.
Forgiveness that we need
    Is granted to us there;
The Lord of mercy sends
    Us forth in His blest care.

4 The gifts are there each day
    The holy Word is read;
God’s children listen, hear,
    Receive, and they are fed.
Christ fills them with Himself,
    Blest words that give them life,
Restoring and refreshing
    Them for this world’s strife.

5 The gifts are in the feast,
    Gifts far more than we see;
Beneath the bread and wine
    Is food from Calvary.
The body and the blood
    Remove our ev’ry sin;
We leave His presence in
    His peace, renewed again.

6 All glory to the One
    Who lavishes such love;
The triune God in love
    Assures our life above.
His means of grace for us
    Are gifts He loves to give;
All thanks and praise for His
    Great love by which we live!

Text: Richard C. Resch, 1947
Text: © 2001 Richard C. Resch. Used by permission: LSB Hymn License no. 110018755

Again, as the Psalm invites us, come and worship the Lord. Come and receive His gifts, both in weekly worship and Bible study. Come and gather with His saints. Come before Him in thanksgiving. Come and receive His forgiveness and refreshment.

Grace & Peace,

                        Pastor Kory Janneke