St. Paul's Lutheran Church
Durham, North Carolina

Worship Information

The Service Begins

1.  Prelude --Music helps draw us into an attitude of prayer and praise.


2.  Confession and Forgiveness -- We examine ourselves and publicly confess our sins. Such a confession at the beginning of the service provides a climate of acceptance. In spite of our sins, we are accepted by God, and in turn accept one another. (1 John 1:8-10 and Romans 7:14-8:4)


3.  Gathering Song -- We are a singing church. We follow the advice of the apostle Paul to teach and admonish one another with psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs. (Colossians 3:16)


The Service of the Word

4.  Greeting -- The pastor says a greeting to the congregation in the name of the Triune God: Father, Son and Holy Spirit.


5.  The Kyrie -- Kyrie is a Greek word meaning O Lord. It is a cry to the Lord for help and strength. In ancient times, the crowds would shout Lord have mercy as the king entered a town. The church has taken over this prayer to greet its King, Jesus Christ. We call on our Lord in time of need. (Matthew 9:27; 15:22; 20:30-31; Luke 17:13)


6.  Canticle or Hymn of Praise -- We typically use the hymn "This is the Feast" because we celebrate Holy Communion, the feast of victory, every Sunday. The hymn "Glory to God in the Highest" may also be sung. These hymns express joy because God is our victorious savior.


7.  Prayer of the Day -- The prayer begins with the salutation from the pastor: "The Lord be with you," and the congregation responds: "And also with you." This may be sung or spoken. (Ruth 2:4; Luke 1:28, 2 Thessalonians 3:16).  The prayer expresses the main thoughts of the day. We follow the traditional Revised Common Lectionary three year cycle of texts and the prayers reflect the rich treasury of the heritage of the church.


8.  The First Reading or Lesson -- The first reading is from the Old Testament (The Hebrew Bible), except during the Easter season when it is from the Book of Acts. All the readings usually relate to a central theme that is expressed in the Gospel text. (1 Timothy 4:13)


9.  Psalm -- Psalms are the ancient songs of the faithful. They are filled with emotion, lament, praise, hope and love of the Lord. Psalms may be sung or spoken. At St. Paul's, psalms are usually sung.


10.  The Second Reading or Lesson -- This reading is usually taken from the Epistles or letters of the New Testament.


11.  Gospel Acclamation -- A verse from Holy Scripture is sung in preparation of the reading of the Gospel. The verse may change with the season.


12.  Gospel Reading -- The Gospel Reading is a selection from the accounts of the life of Jesus recorded by the four evangelists: St. Matthew, St. Mark, St. Luke, and St. John. Because Christ is with us in the Gospel reading we stand to honor his presence. We also sing or say short verses before and after the reading.  On festival days the minister may read the Gospel while standing among the people, flanked by candles and led to the people by the crucifer.


13.  The Sermon -- The pastor proclaims God's Word and applies that word to modern life and problems. He stresses both what God asks of us (the Law) and what God does for us through Jesus Christ (the Good News of the Gospel).


14.  The Hymn of the Day -- This hymn follows the theme of the readings and reinforces the message of the sermon. We stand for the singing of the Hymn.


15.  The Creed -- After hearing the Word of God read and proclaimed, the worshipers respond with a confession of faith in the words of the Apostles' Creed or the Nicene Creed (the Nicene Creed is used on major festivals and the seasons of Easter and Christmas). (1 Corinthians 15:1 and following, 1 Peter 3:18 and following)






Liturgy is best translated the People's Work. The whole congregation participates in the worship service, hence worship is the work or deeds of the people of God.


The Lutheran Liturgical Service follows an ancient pattern that has been the form of worship since soon after the time of Christ. This page will give a brief explanation of each portion of the worship service and may help those not familiar with this style of worship understand the deep meaning contained in each section of the liturgy.

16.  The Prayer of Intercession -- This prayer is a series of short prayers for the whole church, the nations, those in need, the parish, special concerns, thanksgivings, remembrances of the dead and the hope of resurrections. It follows the directive of the Apostle Paul to young Timothy: "I urge, then, first of all, that requests, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for everyone, for all in authority, that we may live in peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness." (1 Timothy 2:1-2)


17.  Peace -- This congregational greeting is a transition between the Service of the Word and the Service of the Meal. It is a time to share Christ's peace with your neighbor. The peace functions as a seal of our prayers and a sign that we are serious about reconciliation. The gift of God's peace is more than a sociable handshake, it is a commitment to the reality of God with us.


The Service of the Meal

18.  Meal -- By the mercy of God, the assembly turns to eat and drink the very promise they have been hearing in the scriptures. The table is set.


19.  The Offering -- the gifts of God's people are a response to God's abundant blessings. The offering supports more than St. Paul's Lutheran Church. It is used benevolently for needs of the world.


20. The Offertory -- As the offerings are brought to the Lord's table, the worshipers sing an expression of gratitude for all God's blessings, dedicate themselves to God and request God's continuing blessings.


21. Offering Prayer -- A prayer that articulates the doctrines of creation, redemption, and vocation.


22.  Preface -- A formal introduction to the Holy Meal sung or spoken by the pastor. The preface is the beginning of the Thanksgiving at the table. It is a proclamation that includes references to the season of the church year and the themes of the day.


24.  Holy, Holy, Holy (the Sanctus) -- Sanctus is Latin for Holy and the old formal title of this song. The song contains words of Isaiah 6:3 and the crowd's response to Jesus on Palm Sunday. (Matthew 21:9, Mark 11:9)


25.  Thanksgiving at the Table - This formal prayer gives thanks for what God has done, is doing and will do for humankind. It includes the words of Institution (Jesus' words spoken at the Last Supper). With these words the meal is ready. (1 Corinthians 11:23-26)


26.  The Lord's Prayer -- We pray to God as Jesus taught us to pray, calling on God as Father because we are coming to the great family meal of salvation and forgiveness.  (Luke 11:2-4)


27.  The Communion -- Instructions for communion are found in our bulletin. All the baptized are welcome at the table. While the meal is distributed, hymns are sung.


28.  Lamb of God -- As Christ comes to us in the Holy Supper, we recognize him as the Lamb of God sacrificed for us to free us from the bondage of Sin and Death. (John 1:29; Isaiah 53:7)


29.  Post Communion Blessing -- The pastor gives a reminder of the blessing received in the sacrament, God's grace and love.


30.  Post Communion Canticle -- Thank you Lord is an expression of faith and hope and love.


31.  Prayer after Communion -- A final expression of thanks and hope


32.  Blessing -- The blessing is God's promise that Christ will go with us as we leave the church and return to the world to serve God.


33.  Hymn -- Sung as the leaders exit..