The Divine Service

Newsflash! Are you ready for this? I am considering changing a habit of mine!

I am attempting to change the word I use for what we do when we gather on Sun- day mornings. In the past I have spoken of the Worship Service. From henceforth I intend to call it the Divine Service. And I would like to persuade you to make the change as well. This is why.

Worship is something we do. We worship when we render to God a sacrifice of praise and thanksgiving. This happens with our pray- ers, our singing, our partici- pation, and our giving. And certainly all these things are involved in what we do when we gather on Sundays as a congregation.

But it has been called to my attention that what we offer by way of worship is in re- sponse to what God has already done; and even more, what he continues to do. As Lutherans we use the lingo that the church is the gathering of believers around Word and Sacra- ment. The giver here is our Lord who comes to us and serves us! And he does so through his Word and through his Sacraments.

Although God certainly deserves our service, he beats us to the punch and serves us first! And it is a good thing too. For God does not actually need any- thing from us! And by stark way of contrast, we need absolutely everything from

him. For important starters, we need the forgiveness of sins! Even when we finally get around to responding in gratitude, this too is our need. Gratitude is a sign of faith. It is a sign that we have turned to him for for- giveness and life itself!

The Divine Service! We are being drawn because we are in desperate need for what he promises through his Word and Sacraments. Just imagine what it means when we say, “I don’t get any- thing out of the service.” Imagine what that sounds like to God!

The Divine Service! How fortunate we are...