February 2-7, Worship Parts 1

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FAMILY DEVOTIONS for this week focus on the parts of the liturgy in worship and help us understand the meaning and purpose behind each one.

Monday, February 2

Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.  Matthew 28:19

This week, our family devotions will focus on the parts of the worship service and what they mean.  We begin every worship service with the Invocation: “In the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.”  Why?  We invoke (call upon) the name of our Triune God, whom we have come to worship, receiving His gifts and responding in thanks and praise.  We begin with them because they call to mind our identity as children of God.  We were baptized in the name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit; therefore, every time we hear those words it is meant to remind us that we have been united in the death and resurrection of Christ.  The pastor makes the sign of the cross to further emphasize that point.  Wouldn’t it be wonderful if each of us would make the sign of the cross over ourselves and always remember that we have been claimed as God’s children in baptism?  “St. Paul beautifully captures the eternal significance of our baptism into Christ when he writes to the Galatians that "as many of you as were baptized into Christ have put on Christ" (Gal. 3:27). We are clothed with his righteousness. Unlike the man in the parable of the wedding feast who had no wedding garment, when we stand before our Judge on the Last Day, we will be clothed and covered, robed in the purity of Christ.‘In the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.’ Already now, in this heaven on earth we call worship, we stand with boldness before the triune God who has claimed us and named us.”

Pray as a family tonight, opening your prayer with the words of the Invocation and the sign of the cross.


Tuesday, February 3

They signaled to their partners in the other boat to come and help them. And they came and filled both the boats, so that they began to sink. But when Simon Peter saw it, he fell down at Jesus' knees, saying, “Depart from me, for I am a sinful man, O Lord.”  Luke 5:7-8

Following the invocation, we immediately move to confession of our sin.  When we come into the presence of a holy God we quickly become aware of our sin.  Confession keeps us honest with God and ourselves.  “The act of confession is not some work that we lay before the Father’s throne; rather, it is the simple acknowledgment that God’s Word is true and right and that when we measure ourselves against its demands, we come up short. God’s Word says ‘you shall not give false testimony,’ but in truth we have lied and gossiped and slandered." And so, the Christian confesses: ‘Lord, Your Word is true; I have sinned.’”  After we admit our sin and guilt, we continue with God’s method of dealing with them: to declare them forgiven in the name of Jesus.  “With his forgiveness, our sin is removed from us as far as the east is from the west. Christians know that, but they also need to hear it often. We need to be reminded that those familiar words, ‘I forgive you all your sins,’ are not just some impersonal announcement. They say what they mean and accomplish what they promise. Jesus himself said to his disciples that the sins they forgive are forgiven.”  Our final absolution will come at the Last Judgment, when we will see the forgiving face of our Savior welcoming us into His eternal presence.

Jesus, Your words of forgiveness are life to my soul, giving me peace and rest.  Thank you for the grace that You give so freely and yet at such a high cost.  I love You, precious Savior.


Wednesday, February 4

For the Lord know the way of the righteous,
    but the way of the wicked will perish.
Blessed is the man
    who walks not in the counsel of the wicked,
nor stands in the way of sinners,
    nor sits in the seat of scoffers;
but his delight is in the law of the Lord,
    and on his law he meditates day and night.
He is like a tree
    planted by streams of water
that yields its fruit in its season,
    and its leaf does not wither.
In all that he does, he prospers.
The wicked are not so,
    but are like chaff that the wind drives away.
Therefore the wicked will not stand in the judgment,
    nor sinners in the congregation of the righteous.
                                                            Psalm 1:6,1-5

This was the “Introit” for Sunday.  The introit is a reading, typically from the Psalms and always straight out of the Bible, that connects with the other Scripture passages for the day. “Introit” means “to enter,” and though it once served as the entrance hymn, it no longer serves in this way.  When we hear it we can know that we are hearing God’s very words to us, and listen for the message of law, which condemns and kills our sinful nature, or Gospel, which declares what God has done for us and raises us to new life.

Glory be to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Spirit; as it was in the beginning, is now, and will be forever.  Amen.

Thursday, February 5

And as they went out of Jericho, a great crowd followed him. And behold, there were two blind men sitting by the roadside, and when they heard that Jesus was passing by, they cried out, “Lord, have mercy on us, Son of David!” The crowd rebuked them, telling them to be silent, but they cried out all the more, “Lord, have mercy on us, Son of David!” Matthew 20:30-31

After we have been assured of forgiveness through the death and resurrection of Jesus, we immediately call out to God, “Lord, have mercy. Christ, have mercy. Lord, have mercy!”  We have surely just heard that our God is merciful to sinners, and so this is both a song of praise and a prayer that God would have mercy on the whole world.  “All around us we see the results of hatred, envy, lust, and greed. Surely, the world is in need of God’s mercy. It’s no wonder that the church, in her worship, pleads before God on behalf of the whole world. It’s a prayer that no one else is going pray.  Yet, when we cry out, ‘Lord, have mercy,’ there is confidence in our voices because we know that God is indeed merciful. He desires to bring relief to the suffering that is all around us. Our prayer may not always bring an immediate response–at least, not the response that we are seeking–but even then, we commend ourselves and the whole world to a merciful God.  Like the confession of sins, however, our cry for mercy will be silenced in heaven. There we will see the results of God’s mercy, as before the throne and in front of the Lamb will stand all the redeemed–not one of them worthy of the honor.”

Lord, have mercy! Amen.


Friday, February 6

And the angel said to them, “Fear not, for behold, I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people.For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord.  And this will be a sign for you: you will find a baby wrapped in swaddling cloths and lying in a manger.”  And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying, “Glory to God in the highest,and on earth peace among those with whom he is pleased!” Luke 2:10-14

After our prayer for mercy, we quickly break into a hymn of praise, often called the “Gloria in Excelsis” as we echo the words of the angels the night of Jesus’ birth. “On that specific occasion, their praise gave utterance to the good news that the Son of God had come in the flesh. Heaven had come down to earth! And ever since, the Church has continued to rejoice in this miracle of our salvation.The opening words of the Gloria in Excelsis are followed by a hymn of praise to the triune God. One can imagine the faithful singing these words in heaven: ‘We praise you, we bless you, we worship you, we glorify you, we give you thanks for your great glory.’ Our focus is on the incarnate Son of God, the only-begotten Son, the Lamb of God, and only Son of the Father. And if that isn’t enough to name this One who is the object of our worship and praise, twice we sing, ‘you take away the sin of the world.’ There it is, the heart and substance of the Christian faith. In heaven we will be gathered around the throne and the Lamb, confessing that he alone is holy, he alone is the Lord.”  Our worship services are rich with God’s own Word and songs that draw our eyes and souls to heaven!

“You alone are holy; You only are the Lord.  Forever and forever, be worshiped and adored!”


Saturday, February 7

All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work. 2 Timothy 3:16-17

Next we come to the core of the worship service as we hear God’s Word and the sermon.  “Frequently we conclude the reading of Holy Scripture with the phrase, ‘This is the Word of the Lord!’ More than just a ‘word’ from God, this is his revelation in which he makes known to us his will, most specifically, his merciful will that desires our salvation. Ultimately, this word points us to the Word, the incarnate Son of God. He is God's final and full revelation to us, the mirror of the Father's heart. That is the point that the writer to the Hebrews makes in the opening verses of his epistle: ‘In many and various ways God spoke to his people of old by the prophets, but now in these last days, he has spoken to us by his Son’ (Heb. 1:1-2a). Only through him--God's only Son--are we able to know the Father's favor and grace.

“In the sermon, the Word of God is brought to bear on the lives of the hearers. This is the equivalent of sitting at the feet of Jesus. But it's more than mere instruction. Through the sermon, God speaks to us with his two-edged sword of condemnation and promise, Law and Gospel. The subject of the sermon is both God and us. Through the sermon we come to a better understanding of ourselves, especially our need for God's forgiveness. But we also come face to face with God's mercy and love. Week after week, God's faithful hear the voice of their Good Shepherd, preparing them, in a sense, for that final day when Jesus calls them to their eternal reward.”

Thank God for His Word, which gives us true life in His name.


Quotations taken from lcms.org/page.aspx?pid=1116


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