July 22nd, 2004


Liturgical goodness

Feels a little odd to not be writing much original stuff here this week, but others' words and thoughts have hit me more than my own in many cases. This morning, for example, I'm doing the layout for this Sunday's Order of Worship (it's like a church bulletin on steroids—twelve 8.5x11" pages each week) and am especially struck by a couple of elements of the liturgy.

Traditionally, our services begin with a Call to Worship from Scripture, then a corporate Confession of Sin (often written by John, our pastor) with silent prayer time for individual confession, followed by Receiving of Grace (drawn from Scripture but often adapted by John), which is our assurance of God's faithfulness and our forgiveness in Christ. This week, however, John is switching the order of the Receiving of Grace and Confession of Sin, based on the important truth that we aren't given God's grace because we confess; rather it is because of God's grace that we can confess and be forgiven. God's grace is first.

So this is how that part of our liturgy reads for this Sunday. It's just what I needed to hear:
Receiving of Grace
The Lord is gracious and compassionate.
He will not turn his face away from you if you return to Him.
God has put Christ to death in our place.
God has rejected Christ so He can forgive us.
Through the work of Christ, your forgiveness has been secured.
Let us return to Him with all our hearts. Amen.

Confession of Sin
Almighty God, merciful Father, we stray from Your ways like lost sheep.
We follow too much the desires of our own hearts.
We do not do those things we ought to do.
We do those things we ought not to do.
There is no health in us.
Almighty God, have mercy upon us.
Grant, merciful Father, that we from here forward live godly, righteous and joyful lives.
  • Current Music
    Jesse Sykes & The Sweet Hereafter, "Troubled Soul"