For these last weeks of the Trinity season we will worship using a liturgy that is based in the Psalms. You will notice references to various Psalms all the way through.
But there are some other changes as well. If you are very perceptive, you will have noticed that the pulpit is standing just a few feet to the side. Don’t worry, we still affirm the Word of God as central to our worship. The reason for it will become clear as we enter the liturgy of Holy Communion. It allows for the Minister to stand behind the table instead of behind the pulpit while presiding at the Communion portion of the liturgy.
This change has been suggested by some in the congregation, and the Worship Team has been thinking about it for some time. Some have noted a certain awkwardness in walking around the table, turning, breaking the bread, turning back again, and doing the same with the wine. It tends to break up the dramatic action at the table rather than unify it. Also, it seems more natural and hospitable for the presider to be standing behind the table during the prayers and actions involved in preparing the meal.
You will also notice that the breaking of the bread and pouring and blessing the cup will take place during the words of Institution (the words Jesus spoke at the Last Supper) instead of after. Historically, it has been done both ways, with good reasons for each, and we thought this might be a good time alter the practice at COS. We will continue use our wonderful biblical (I Corinthians 10) response at the breaking of the bread and blessing the cup:
We who are many are one body, for we all share the same loaf
The cup which we all share is our fellowship in the blood of Christ.
One more change (as if we don’t have enough already!). At least this one has been done before, so it’s not exactly new. The Passing of the Peace has been moved to immediately after the Confession and Pardon early in the service. Why? First, after we have been promised peace with God through Jesus Christ, it is good to share this peace, acceptance, and love with each other. Second, coming early in the service, it better identifies us as a welcoming community of forgiven sinners.
With these changes, it is a good time to remind ourselves that the liturgy is not just a series of actions; it is a drama. Liturgy brings us into the drama of God’s salvation. As in any drama, how and when things are said and done impacts how engaged with it we become.
As you experience these changes during this season, please reflect on your own personal response to them. The Worship Team would love to hear your responses and suggestions as we plan and evaluate our liturgy. Please send any responses to: firstname.lastname@example.org.
-Your Worship Team