How We Worship
We follow the historic Western Mass and accompanying offices, an ancient liturgy rooted in the apostolic order and practice. We have two Sunday services at 8:30 a.m. and 11:00 a.m. We alternate each service between the Communion liturgy and Matins depending on the week. We print the service from the hymnbook in the bulletin so it is easily followed.
We hope you’ll join us for Pastor’s Bible study between services at 9:45 a.m. This is a great way to meet our members and learn more about us. We also offer Sunday School at 9:45 a.m. for children in the congregation to learn more about the Scriptures.
The Augsburg Confession makes a bold claim regarding Lutheran worship — that we celebrate the ancient liturgy (the Mass) of the Church with even more earnestness than Roman Christians have historically done — that we are radically traditional! To be honest, it is difficult to find Lutheran congregations these days that live up to this bold claim, but Our Savior strives to be one of them!
The Mass is simply the Liturgy of the Western (Latin Speaking) church as received from the apostles and practiced in similar versions still by Roman Catholic, Eastern Orthodox, Anglican, Lutheran, and other liturgically traditional Christians. Our Liturgy begins with the Service of the Word, which is first a word of Law showing our sins, and then a word of Gospel forgiving us for Christ’s sake and sharing His life with us by faith.
The Cross and Resurrection of Christ is always the heart and center of our Service of the Word. This section of the liturgy centers on the reading of Holy Scripture, especially the Gospel for the day, on which the sermon is always based. For us, the sermon is not merely a lecture or a story about Jesus. Serving as a divine means of grace, through which Jesus gets in through our ears to make our hearts His, it makes us over into His very image! It is this radically Christ-centered, grace-centered, faith-centered focus of the traditional liturgy that makes us loath to alter or change it in any conscious way.
Music has been a crucial feature of Christian worship since the early days of the church. David wrote music for his Psalms and the church used those forms for many generations. In the early Middle Ages, Gregorian chant accompanied the liturgy of the church and was integral in delivering Christ’s gifts to the worshiping congregants. Luther was a talented musician and continued adapting the Gregorian chant tradition and writing lively hymn accompaniments. J.S. Bach took church music to a pinnacle not yet equaled and certainly not exceeded. We are grateful heirs of this great tradition at Our Savior and have excellent professional and amateur musicians who enhance our worship with these great traditions of the Western Church.
The culmination of the Divine Service (the second part of the liturgy) is the Sacrament of the Altar or Holy Communion. We believe the Sacrament of the Altar is the very body and very blood of Christ Jesus, given and shed for us for the forgiveness of sins. We believe Christ Jesus’ body and blood are united with the consecrated bread and wine in a real (but supernatural) fashion that we cannot understand but gratefully receive, and in receiving Christ’s body and blood this way, we believe He makes us one body with Him. This holy communion with Christ Jesus is the pinnacle of our worship and life together.
Our Communion Statement is as follows: “We come to the Lord’s Supper repentant of all our sins and believing in Jesus Christ we receive forgiveness, life, and salvation. We believe the Risen Christ is really present in the Sacrament and that with the bread and wine we eat and drink His body and blood for the forgiveness of all our sins. All who believe the Lutheran Church rightly confesses the pure Gospel and Sacraments of Jesus Christ, and who share that faith themselves, are invited to commune with us at His Table. If you have concerns about communing, please speak to the Pastor.”
We are able to commune with Christ in this way because of the gift of Himself in Holy Baptism — a divine, supernatural washing away of sins and receiving of Christ’s life as our own, such that our old, sinful selves are crucified and die with Christ, and by His Holy Spirit, a new person is raised up in the image of Christ to live with and in Him forever. We believe this forgiveness is really and truly imparted to us in Holy Absolution by which we begin every Communion service.
Body of Christ
We believe that the Divine Service, or holy liturgy does not merely put ideas or concepts into our heads, but actually makes us the Body of Christ, every member individually playing a vital role. The “mystical Body” is a belief that orthodox Christians have always cherished. Since we have through Word and Sacraments received Christ Jesus bodily and spiritually, we are therefore made one Body, one Spirit with Him.
As Paul says, “I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live but Christ lives in me.” (Galatians 2:20) At Our Savior, we believe this is true of us, that by Christ’s Gift we are His Body in this place. As such, we serve Him in our daily vocations as individuals and corporately as a congregation — in serving Him this way, we believe we are truly of service to the world.
The members of Our Savior come from many diverse backgrounds. Some of us are life-long Lutherans, but a majority of our new members in the last few years have come from other traditions or no tradition at all. Background, race, class, geography — these things make no difference to our Lord. In Him, we who are many and diverse are truly One Body!
Because we believe that it is the Holy Spirit who calls, gathers, and enlightens us, we do not believe that it is our efforts at “outreach” that add to the Body of Christ, but His gracious call in Word and Sacraments. So we don’t believe in high pressure proselytizing (evangelism), but rather cultivate a relaxed fellowship, always eager to receive brothers and sisters in Christ.