By Not Known
Here is a brief explanation of each stage of our “worship journey” each Sunday.
I We Prepare To Meet God
The ringing of the bell, and the musical prelude are signals to us that something important is going to happen. They tell us to clear the clutter in our minds and focus on God – Father, Son and Holy Spirit. We are reminded that we must not barge into God’s Presence: we must be ready mind, body and spirit. (Isaiah 1:12-18)
Then the Worship Leader (Elder or Deacon) enters carrying an open Bible – this is called “The Entry of the Word” a common act in most Presbyterian churches. In some churches, the congregation stands as the Bible is brought in as an act of respect for God’s Word and remains standing as the Call to Worship is read. The first hymn is then sung as a response to God’s invitation. The Entry of the Word tells us something very important: the service of worship cannot begin until the Word of God is present. For how can we worship God if we are not informed and instructed from the Word?
II We Praise God
The Call to Worship is an invitation from God to gather to worship Him. There is a list of Calls to Worship in TH 599 and all are no longer than 3 verses each. Then we praise God together in a Hymn of Praise. While we can certainly sing praise to God, we should also learn to praise God in prayer as well.
III We Seek God
We cannot come into God’s holy presence with our sins. This is why we must first confess corporately, and then thank God for the forgiveness of our sins which is possible only through the death of Jesus Christ on the Cross. Singing the Lord’s Prayer every Sunday can make us sing it unthinkingly – we can be so preoccupied with the melody that we neglect its meaning.
The Apostles’ Creed is a handy summary of faith in a Triune God. The “virgin Mary” is included to indicate that our Saviour was supernaturally conceived without the involvement of her husband. Pontius Pilate is included to show that Jesus lived in real history. “He descended into hell” means he died like any human being ie, as an ordinary man, He went to the place where dead people were believed to normally go, it is not a reference to the ultimate place of eternal torment. “Sitteth on the right hand” is not to sit literally on God’s hand, but at the place of God’s authority/favour. The “quick and the dead” means “the living and the dead”. The “holy catholic church” means the holy universal church made up of believers of all ages and places.
IV We Listen to God’s Word as it is read and preached, then respond in a hymn.
V We Worship God in His World: we give our offerings and dedicate ourselves so that when we return to the world on leaving the church we do so with a renewed dedication to serve God and mankind.