Lord, have mercy on this journey

The Liturgy as Narrative

Part II

The Service of the Word

Previously, I walked through the very beginning of the Liturgy as microcosm of story telling, but if I take another look, it’s really only the Prologue.

In the Confession and Absolution, the first part of the Liturgy, we confess our sin, and Christ, through His Word, forgives us once for all (1)Hebrews 10:10. Sin is what separates us from God and to be separated from God is to be separated from life for all eternity. Jesus and the Apostles called us to repent and be forgiven so that we would not suffer eternal death, but rather live with God. In Christ, our sin is covered and our forgiveness is completed even if our repentance is continual.

We repent, time and again, because we find ourselves living out Paul’s lament.

For I do not do the good I want, but the evil I do not want is what I keep on doing.

Romans 7:19 ESV

This is where Act I begins and the scene is set for the rest of the story.

Have mercy on us, Lord.

The Kyrie Eleison (2)Kyrie Eleison is an English transliteration of a Greek phrase which literally reads “Lord have mercy”. In the liturgy, the Kyrie Eleison is a read and response section, asking the Lord to have mercy on multiple areas of life. is our normal world, our everyday. We recite it together, because we all need mercy from God and from each other.

The Pastor starts us off, “In peace let us pray to the Lord.”

We all respond, “Lord, have mercy.”

For the peace from above and for our salvation, let us pray to the Lord.

Lord, have mercy.

For the peace of the whole world, for the well-being of the Church of God (3)The phrase “Church of God” does not referring to a denomination, but rather to all Christians, and for the unity of all let us pray to the Lord.

Lord, have mercy.

For this holy house (4)The building we meet in to worship God is not in itself holy. It is only holy because we are worshiping God. If we met in a dilapidated, rat infested barn to worship God, it would be a holy place. and for all who offer here their worship and praise let us pray to the Lord.

Lord have mercy.

Help (5) I remember when I was kid, instead of saying “help” and “save” we said “vouchsafe.” It’s an old word that we just don’t use anymore. Such is the give and take of modern language and translation. , save, comfort and defend us gracious Lord.

Amen.

We say “amen” often in the liturgy. It’s an old word, but it’s been adopted readily into the vernacular. It’s what we say when we agree with what’s been said not just in fact, but in truth. Amen is a way of strongly affirming, “Surely, it is true!”

Surely, it is true that God will have mercy on us because He has promised to do so (2 John 1:3, Titus 3:4-6).

What do we say to God knowing that he has forgiven us our sins and promised us grace and mercy? We offer him praise and thanks.

Glory to God in the Highest!

We call it the “Gloria in Excelsis (6)The full phrase is Gloria in Excelsis Deo, which is Latin for Glory to God in the Highest.”” which means “Glory to God in the highest” and that’s exactly what we say.

The Pastor starts us off, sometimes saying, sometimes singing the first words.

Glory to God in the highest, and peace to His people on earth.

We always sing the response.

Lord God, heavenly king, almighty God and Father:

We worship you, we give you thanks, we praise You for Your glory. Lord Jesus Christ, only Son of the Father, Lord God, Lamb of God: You take away the sin of the world; have mercy on us. (7)John 1:14, John 1:29

You are seated at the right hand of the Father; receive our prayer. For you alone are the Holy One, You alone are the Lord, You alone are the Most High, Jesus Christ, with the Holy Spirit, in the glory of God the Father. Amen. (8)Colossians 3:1, John 6:69

Greetings and Gatherings

It’s a high moment, lofty, even. It’s a heady thing to realize that this Mighty God and Creator of the universe, is with each one of us. We have been raised up with Christ to a new place, so it’s no wonder that the next part of the liturgy is called the Salutation. We’re greeting each other.

The pastor turns to us and says, “The Lord be with you.” We respond accordingly, “And also with you.

And then we pray together the Collect (9)Collect is a fun word because it’s Latin. It’s pronounced with the emphasis on the second syllable instead of the first, but it means the same; to gather together..

O God, our Maker and Redeemer, You wonderfully created us in the incarnation of Your Son yet more wondrously restored our human nature. Grant that we may ever be alive in Him who made Himself to be like us; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with You and Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever.

The stage has been set and the characters are in place. We have a God who is above us, yet with us. We could stay here and rest in the mercy of God, but we know we can’t. We can’t because we have responsibilities outside this place. We can’t because so many people we know and love are missing.

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