I started in the last Newsletter trying to answer the question: “How do Christians who choose to be Lutherans make disciples?” I firmly believe that our congregations are to be disciple-forming congregations. I want to take apart the three key parts I put forward last month that members are to be participating in to be formed as disciples of Jesus. Last month, I suggested that Lutherans participating in the life of faith within the congregation whose task is to form its members into disciples of Jesus Christ are to participate in three areas to help form their life of faith. I stated the three areas are: Worship, Catechesis, and Individual Prayer.
This month’s article will focus our attention on how our worship life contributes to our being formed as disciples of Jesus over time. The way Lutherans worship forms us into disciples of Jesus is by formation and reflection. We are formed by our worship by participating in it over time. We become what we do. But true to the Protestant tradition, Lutherans are always being reflective about what is happening to them by reflecting on God’s word.
Lutheran worship has a very definite pattern to it both at the level of the church year and the order of the service. The church year has a very clear pattern to be broken down into two main themes. The first is the Cycle of Light which includes the seasons of Advent (expectation), Christmas (fulfillment), and Epiphany (proclamation). The second is the Cycle of Life which includes the seasons of Lent (expectation), Holy Week and Triduum, Easter (fulfillment), and Pentecost (proclamation).
The church service order has a definite pattern built into it because it is based upon the understanding of we are gathered in from being the body of Christ in the world and then are sent out back into the world to be the body of Christ as Jesus’ disciples. Underneath this pattern is a movement from being intra-dependent on the Spirit within us to be extra-dependent on God outside of us while we are in the worship space. We are sent back out into the world based on the presence of the Spirit being intra-dependent with us again to act as Jesus’ disciples.
So, it is about Gathering when we do the confession and absolution, sing a Hymn, greet each other in Christ, and do the Kyrie and Canticle of Praise. We focus on the Word and our reflection on it when we hear the scriptures being read and the sermon preached, sing a Hymn, confess our faith as a response when we use the three creeds of the church, and gather the community’s intercessions for prayer. Our focus shifts to the third component which is the Meal which feels our relationship with God forming us into the body of Christ. We become what we eat! The Meal section includes the Offering, Great Thanksgiving, Preface, Eucharist prayers (words of Consecration), Lord’s Prayer, Distribution, Table blessing, Post Communion Hymn, and Post Communion prayer. The final form of worship for Lutherans is the Sending which includes the Blessing, final Hymn, and Dismissal to go back out into the world and act as the body of Christ in the world as a disciple of Jesus Christ.
Lutherans become disciples of Jesus Christ by Worshiping, Catechesis, and Individual Prayer.
Story of the Week…One of the things that we, as Christians, who are people of the Book (Bible) really could use is a disciplined way for us to learn the many core Bible stories from the Scriptures. The book “Bible Stories for the Church Year” by Kristen Johnson Ingram does just that by tying Bible stories to the Sunday lectionary we use every week as part of worship. With that in mind, we want to start a program called the Story of the Week. Each week, starting for the first Sunday in June and continuing throughout the church year, we will offer a Bible story that is read as part of our liturgy to be learned. At some point, with more children present, we can even use these stories as the basis of children’s sermons. We plan to put about five stories out each week and as the demand grows, we will make more stories available.
The Story of the Week for August:
August 1: Manna and Quails (Exodus 15:22-16, 38)
August 8: Elijah at the Mountain of God (1 Kings 19)
August 15: Jesus is the Living Bread (John 6:51-58)
August 22: Joshua writes the Covenant (Joshua 23 and 24)
August 29: Battle of Jericho (Joshua 5:10-6:27)
September 5: Jesus heals the deaf man (Mark 7:31-37)
Mid-Week Bible Study…Pastor Larry is asking if there is any interest in having a mid-week Bible study to be held on Wednesdays when he is at Living Lord as part of his office time. His thinking is it would be from 11:00 am to 12:00 noon starting in September if there is enough interest. Let Pastor Larry (330-550-0077) know if you are interested or call the office (330-856-5302) and leave a message.
Thrivent Members…If you are a Thrivent member and would be interested in using your Thrivent Choice Dollars to support the ministries of Living Lord Lutheran Church, please call Pr. Klinker at 330-550-0077 or the church office. If you would be interested in using Thrivent Action Grants to help support the ministries of Living Lord, please also call Pr. Klinker or the church office. Pastor will meet with you to discuss how to go about setting up these support systems.
Pastor Larry’s Bible Blog…Pastor Larry offers you an opportunity to read your way thru scriptures with him each day at his Bible Blog. The readings alternate between readings from an Older Testament book and then a Newer Testament book. We have been reading the Older Testament book of Isaiah and have completed it in July. We started the Newer Testament book of Frist John to finish out July and will begin to read the Older Testament book of Jeremiah on Pastor Larry’s Bible blog online at:http://klinkerld-astorlarrysbible.blogspot.com/. Join us online.
Interim Pastor Larry Klinker’s Office Hours…Pastor Larry will be in the office on Wednesdays from 9:30 am to noon. You may reach him at 330-550-0077 or email him at email@example.com.