It is liturgical
At TLC, we use the historical liturgy of the Church. Liturgy means "the work of the people." Every congregation has a liturgy, that is, a framework around which the worship service is conducted. By historical liturgy we are refering to the worship service that the Church has developed and has used through the centuries.
The use of the liturgy has some very special blessings.
It is antiphonal
Even as the liturgy unites us to the historical church, the antiphonal style of worship joins us to God's people in the Old and New Testaments. The worship there, as exemplified in the Pslams, the "hymnbook" of the Old Testament, involved the worship leader speaking and the congrgation responding. The blessing of such a worship style is two-fold:
These liturgical and antiphonal aspects of worship combine to create a four-part worship service:
First, there is the Confession of Sins and Absolution. This prepares us to come before a holy and just God to worship him. Our response is a Hymn of Praise.
Second, the Reading of Scripture. We have three readings each week from the Old Testament, the Epistles, and the Gospels. We use the pericopes, or assigned readings, for each week. Again, these are used in the vast majority of Christian Churches. Our response to the Word is our Confession of Faith.
Third, the Preaching of the Word. This is the Sunday sermon, in which the Word of God is explained and applied, offering a word of hope and encouragement for our lives. Our response to the preaching of the Word is our Dedication to the Lord.
Fourth, the Sharing of the Sacrament. We receive the Lord's Supper for the forgivness of sins, the strengthening of our faith, and the empowering of the Holy Spirit that we might give witness to our Lord by word and deed. Our response is Going Forth to Serve.
Freedom in Worship
Such structure may seem odd to those who have not experienced such a style of worship before. But there is room for variation in prayers, hymns, readings and litanies that keep worship at TLC not only fresh, but also relevant to the individual. We would ask that if you are unfamiliar with this worship style, that you visit several times to get a "feel" for our worship service. As the saying goes, "Try it! You'll like it!"
But above all, it is important to remember the words of Jesus: "God is spirit, and those who worship him must worship in spirit and in truth" (John 4:24).
Martin Luther said, "Whoever sings once, prays twice." Music and congregational singing is important to us at TLC. Even as TLC's worship service is traditional so most of the hymns we use are the "standards" of the Christian Church. For our choice of worship music on Sunday mornings, we seek hymns that are:
One of the high points of our worship is the choir's anthem after the sermon. These range from Gospel to "contemporary" hymns as well as some original pieces in which popular music and songs are given a "spiritual twist."
The emphasis of our music is the words of the Psalmist: "Oh come, let us sing unto the Lord; let us make a joyful noise to the rock of our salvation" (Psalm 95:1)
Teachings about the Lord's Supper (also called Holy Communion, The Sacrament of the Altar, and The Euchraist) and who should partake of this holy meal, can become quite contentious. There are three basic approaches as to who can share the Supper in a worship service.
At TLC, we have a "close communion" approach.
What is TLC's teaching?
The Lutheran Church, and TLC, teaches that the Lord's Supper is not an "ordinanace" (or command) but a "sacrament" (that is, a promise). Jesus promised his disciples that when they received the bread and wine of the Lord's Supper, they received his very body and blood (Matthew 26, Mark 14, Luke 22, and 1 Corinthians 11). Paul described the Lord's Supper, saying, "The cup of blessing that we bless, is it not a participation in the blood of Christ? The bread that we break, is it not a participation in the body of Christ?" (1 Cor. 10:16). This is called the doctrine of The Real Presense -- in, with, and under the bread and wine, the communicant receives the true body and blood of Jesus Christ. This is as incomprehensible as doctrines such as the Trinity and the Incarnation. As such, The Real Presence is held and confessed only by God-given faith.
Most importantly, Jesus promised that his supper is the new covenant given for the forgiveness of sins (Matthew 26:28; Luke 22:20). This means that those receiving the Sacrament, believing in Jesus as their Savior, receive the forgiveness of their sins.
If you are visiting with us at TLC on a "communion Sunday" (the first and third Sunday of the month), please speak with the pastor or elder. And if you would like to know more about TLC's teachings -- on the Lord's Supper or any other doctrine -- please contact us. We would be glad to answer any questions your might have.