Worship: The Center of Life
The Christian congregation exists because the Holy Spirit calls and gathers the baptized to hear the Word of the crucified and risen Lord Jesus Christ.
Christians meet together in the Presence of the Risen Lord; He is our Head and we are His Body, and the congregation — the Body of Christ in this location — is sustained because Jesus gives Himself to us in the Holy Communion. He and His gifts are the center of the congregation’s life. That is why we call the Holy Communion Service the life of the congregation.
Yet the Holy Communion Service does not come to an end after the service; it extends itself in many other activities of the congregation.
The Holy Communion Service extends itself in minor services such as the daily offices of Matins and Vespers. The preaching and prayer services revolve around the Holy Communion Service as the planets around the sun. In them the Church’s worship is extended from Sundays through the following weekdays.
Matins is a morning prayer office of psalms, readings, and prayers. It is prayed Tuesday through Friday at 9:00 a.m. All who can attend these are urged to come.
Vespers is a late afternoon or early evening prayer office, also of psalms, readings, and prayers. Vespers are held as announced in the church calendar.
With the Office of Matins and Vespers we are tuned to hear the blessings given in Christ. Through the hymns we praise the Lord for the benefits received, and with our prayers we offer intercessions and petitions for the Church and her needs as well as our individual requests. God promises us a stronger faith when we ask Him and articulate this request in prayers. The services are pervaded by the call to worship, the spirit of praise to our Lord, and a bold trust in His faithfulness..
Confession and Absolution
Christ gave to His Church the power to forgive and retain sins. This power is exercised officially by the pastors. The Lutheran Church has retained Private Confession and Absolution, not as something obligatory, but as a great privilege and blessing in the Church, primarily on account of the absolution.
Private Confession and Absolution is practiced by appointment with the pastor. It is carried out in thechurch building at the communicants’ rail. We there follow the order prescribed by Martin Luther in his Small Catechism. We encourage our members to avail themselves of the blessings of Private Confession and Absolution.
Ceremonies are needful for order and reverence in worship, and assist us in our devotion. They are also an outward expression of our reverence to God and holy things, as well as a sign of our unity with the Church in past ages.
In line with the historic Lutheran Confessions, we at Trinity teach the use of the traditional ceremonies that we believe to be an asset to Christian worship and useful in training for devotion. We do not, however, make any laws about ceremonies but keep them strictly in the area of Christian liberty. Therefore no one is to criticize or condemn anyone for any ceremony that may be used unless it is contrary to the Holy Scriptures.
The Sign of the Cross
One ceremony, which has come down to us from apostolic days, is blessing oneself with the sign of the Cross. This is not “catholic” in the sense of Roman Catholic, but is recommended by Martin Luther himself.
Bowing and Kneeling
According to the Bible, the people of God have always used the ceremonies of bowing and kneeling in worship. We recall the words, “O come let us worship and bow down; let us kneel before the Lord our Maker,” (Psalm 95:6) and “At the Name of Jesus every knee shall bow” (Philippians 2: 10). We therefore encourage kneeling for confession and bowing at the Holy Name of Jesus, etc.
The Church Year
To help us live in and with Christ and the Church, we observe the traditional Church Year with its seasons and feasts in our church worship.
We also recommend to our members to observe the Church Year in their personal and family life with Christian customs and ceremonies. Such a practice is particularly important for the training of children.
Consult your Pastor about suitable prayer books for private and family devotions, as well as for literature on Church Year observances.
Trinity’s adult choir welcomes those of high school age and older; a children’s choir trains the younger voices of the congregation. Their purpose is to lead the congregation in meaningful worship and to perform sacred music that glorifies God as an integral part of worship.
Members of the choir may also serve as cantor. And if you are musically inclined, the music director is always looking for additional voices.