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Our Lord tells us, “For where two or three come together in my name, there I am with them,” (Matthew 18:20). We wholeheartedly believe this promise, trusting the Word of God itself, that our Lord comes to us in worship in a special way so that he might give us his gifts of both Word and Sacrament.  Worship is first and foremost what God does for us and not the other way around. For this reason, we call it his “Divine Service.”


God’s Word (the Bible) provides the .structure for our worship.  “Our Lord speaks and we listen.  His Word bestows what it says. . . Saying back to him what he has said to us, we repeat what is most true and sure.  Most true and sure is his name, which he put upon us with water in Baptism.  We are his.  This we acknowledge at the beginning of the Divine Service.  Where his name is, there is he. . . The rhythm of our worship is from him to us, and then from us back to him.  He gives us his gifts, and together we receive and extol them.” The gifts he gives are what we need the most: forgiveness, life, salvation, and a renewed and strengthened faith. 


Jesus Christ is the central message of our worship.  Because he is what the Bible is about, our readings, our hymns, and our sermons focus on him and what he has graciously done for all people.  His loving sacrifice on the cross, for us, is what gives us salvation, and we live our lives in the shadow of his cross.  Therefore, Jesus’ cross is always our focus, remembering the words of St. Paul that he wrote to the church at Corinth: “For I resolved to know nothing while I was with you except Jesus Christ and him crucified,” (1 Corinthians 2:2).
Taken from Lutheran Worship, Concordia Publishing House, St. Louis, 1982.
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