Tuesday, March 18, 2003

What makes a good worship service?
Yesterday, I made a joke about Vogon church services over at Valerie's blog, so today I thought I'd describe what I think is an ideal service.

For about a year after we first moved here, we attended Covenant OPC in Abilene, and I loved the liturgy they used -- it borrowed elements from the Anglican service.

The pastor opened the service with, "In the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit," and the congregation responded, "Amen!" I love the way the service began with the pastor declaring the name of the One who has saved us and called us to worship Him.

After a hymn and a prayer, we confessed our faith saying the Apostles' Creed every Sunday for one month then the Nicene Creed the following month.

We confessed our sin using the Psalms, and the pastor gave the assurance of forgiveness. We responded by singing the Gloria Patri.

The pastoral prayer was followed by all of us praying the Lord's Prayer together, then we sang another hymn, followed by the offering, the Doxology, scripture reading and prayer, then the sermon.

On the second Sunday of each month we had the Lord's Supper.

This liturgy draws the congregation into worship so well -- the confessions of faith and sin, the assurance of forgiveness and the prayers and hymns prepare the Christian to hear God's word and to receive the sacrament of the Lord's Supper. The whole service was like a conversation between the Lord and His people with God calling His people to Himself and the people responding and drawing near. The Anglicans are good at liturgy, but I think that their weakness -- the 10-15 minute homily -- is the Presbyterian's strength -- the 30-45 minute exegetical sermon. In this type of service you get the best of both.

There are only two things that would improve this service in my opinion: having Communion every Sunday, and allowing young children to come to the Lord's Table.

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