The Collect & Bible readings

More from Narrative Commentary on the Divine Service by John Pless.  Notice how we hear from a prophet, an apostle, and an evangelist every Sunday:

SALUTATION, COLLECT – (p. 189)

The pastor stands in the congregation as Christ’s servant. The vestment he wears indicates that he is not speaking on his own, but as one sent and authorized to represent Christ Jesus. As the authorized representative of the Lord, he says “The Lord be with you.” The congregation responds “And with your Spirit” or “And also with you.” Pastor and the congregation are bound together in this salutation or greeting as the pastor prays the Collect of the Day on behalf of the gathered congregation. The Collect is a short sentence that “collects” in one short request all it is that we are asking God to do for us on the basis of the Word which we are about to hear, both read and preached.

OLD TESTAMENT READING, GRADUAL, EPISTLE, VERSE, HOLY GOSPEL

In Ephesians 4, the Apostle Paul tells us that the Ascended Christ gave gifts to His Church: Apostles, Prophets, Evangelists, and Pastor-Teachers. These gifts are made manifest in the Divine Service as we hear God’s Word read and proclaimed. First, we hear from a Prophet in the words of the Old Testament Reading. After the Scripture is read, The Pastor or Assisting Elder proclaims “This is the Word of the Lord.” The Lord’s Word is embraced by the congregation’s response of thanksgiving: “Thanks be to God.” In this way, the church confesses Holy Scripture for what it is-–the Word of God. The Gradual, selected verses of Scripture, is sung by the choir or congregation. The Gradual is a “bridge of praise” that links the Old Testament with the New Testament. On many occasions an Anthem refl ecting on the common theme of the readings is sung by the choir. This is offered so that those who hear might anticipate the Word of God that will follow. Second, we hear from an Apostle in the words of a New Testament Epistle. From the Apostle we are given the truth that is found only in Jesus for faith and life. The “Alleluia Verse” is then chanted by the Choir or Cantor. This Verse is our anticipation of the Lord who comes to us in His words. These words are spirit and life. Third, we hear from an Evangelist in the words of the Holy Gospel. In the words of the Evangelist we are given the Word of Life, Jesus Christ. The congregation acknowledges the Lord’s presence in His Gospel by standing and extolling His glory and praising Him.

via Grace Lutheran Church – Pastor’s Letter – February 2010 2009.

Worship is more than praising God
Beggars at the Temple gates
Christians as enemies of the human race
David, Jesus, and the 23rd Psalm
About Gene Veith

Professor of Literature at Patrick Henry College, the Director of the Cranach Institute at Concordia Theological Seminary, a columnist for World Magazine and TableTalk, and the author of 18 books on different facets of Christianity & Culture.

  • larry

    Though it was foreign to me/us at first and looked RC, I now love the Divine service. It is the highlight of our week times infinity.

    One of the things we began to notice immediately and over time coming from the outside into the Lutheran worship was this unification of all of us, us and the other members of the church in the worship service. One does not have this in evangelicalism, especially in the Baptist church, you “almost” or “get closer” in Reformed churches (both we once were in).

    Rather than this large group of people individually wondering about their salvation, how I (the particular) know, and then having “my” individual testimonial that assures God has operated and thus saved me, and then the guy next to me unto each person in the building at the time of worship, you have this unified confession, of absolution, a creed, sacraments whereby we all know the same way we are saved/forgiven. It’s easier to kind of experience the difference than it is to attempt to speak of it clearly. I’m not talking about “experience” like charisma, but there is this unity one could never find in other confessions. And that unity is all around the Word and Sacraments and this finds itself in the Divine liturgy that has these to objective things.

    The best example may be this: Me and my brother over there who is 30 years my senior, and the child behind me that’s in diapers, and the lady next to, and the pastor unto the entire congregation know our salvation and forgiveness is “I am baptized” “we eat and drink the very body and blood of Christ” and we confess in unity the same things in the liturgy. It forms, for a lack of a better way of putting it, an organic whole of things otherwise so different they’d never know each other. It exudes the sacramental reality the sacrament being the summation of unified confession, if that makes sense. This is in opposition to the other denominations (all of them) in which how “Bob” knows he’s saved, versus myself, versus “Mary Jo” is more based upon the individual conversion story and the subsequent proof works of election/salvation/rebirth. And there is no common confession (exception to the rule: Reformed churches do maintain a common confession), no organic unity, some forced unity because “we are all in the building together” but nothing from the Word or Sacrament that brings and binds us together. No communion with the real body and blood of Christ so that there is a church universal or catholic both at the church I’m in at the moment, the church(s) everywhere in the world today or the congregation in heaven gone before us now fallen asleep in the wounds of Christ with the archangels and heavenly hosts.

    There are times in the Divine liturgy, the more you learn it and can do it without trying to “keep up” (which we are very green right now), but there are times when this reality simply gives you chills and you LONG for it. This is very different than the more or less, depending on the denomination, individualistic service.

  • larry

    Though it was foreign to me/us at first and looked RC, I now love the Divine service. It is the highlight of our week times infinity.

    One of the things we began to notice immediately and over time coming from the outside into the Lutheran worship was this unification of all of us, us and the other members of the church in the worship service. One does not have this in evangelicalism, especially in the Baptist church, you “almost” or “get closer” in Reformed churches (both we once were in).

    Rather than this large group of people individually wondering about their salvation, how I (the particular) know, and then having “my” individual testimonial that assures God has operated and thus saved me, and then the guy next to me unto each person in the building at the time of worship, you have this unified confession, of absolution, a creed, sacraments whereby we all know the same way we are saved/forgiven. It’s easier to kind of experience the difference than it is to attempt to speak of it clearly. I’m not talking about “experience” like charisma, but there is this unity one could never find in other confessions. And that unity is all around the Word and Sacraments and this finds itself in the Divine liturgy that has these to objective things.

    The best example may be this: Me and my brother over there who is 30 years my senior, and the child behind me that’s in diapers, and the lady next to, and the pastor unto the entire congregation know our salvation and forgiveness is “I am baptized” “we eat and drink the very body and blood of Christ” and we confess in unity the same things in the liturgy. It forms, for a lack of a better way of putting it, an organic whole of things otherwise so different they’d never know each other. It exudes the sacramental reality the sacrament being the summation of unified confession, if that makes sense. This is in opposition to the other denominations (all of them) in which how “Bob” knows he’s saved, versus myself, versus “Mary Jo” is more based upon the individual conversion story and the subsequent proof works of election/salvation/rebirth. And there is no common confession (exception to the rule: Reformed churches do maintain a common confession), no organic unity, some forced unity because “we are all in the building together” but nothing from the Word or Sacrament that brings and binds us together. No communion with the real body and blood of Christ so that there is a church universal or catholic both at the church I’m in at the moment, the church(s) everywhere in the world today or the congregation in heaven gone before us now fallen asleep in the wounds of Christ with the archangels and heavenly hosts.

    There are times in the Divine liturgy, the more you learn it and can do it without trying to “keep up” (which we are very green right now), but there are times when this reality simply gives you chills and you LONG for it. This is very different than the more or less, depending on the denomination, individualistic service.

  • Bryan Lindemood

    Yeah, we get criticized around here (every other religion in SLC) for not having a true prophet. When you mention the presence of Christ (as our Prophet, Priest, and King) in our worship – they pause (as if never even considering this before). And the missionaries usually leave, tell their superior, and then they are asked to not missionize me for a time conisting of more LDS missionary shifts – as long as the memory of my devilish words last. Soon they forget, the mission posts change enough, and I get to plant a few more seeds. Its the way of things around here.

  • Bryan Lindemood

    Yeah, we get criticized around here (every other religion in SLC) for not having a true prophet. When you mention the presence of Christ (as our Prophet, Priest, and King) in our worship – they pause (as if never even considering this before). And the missionaries usually leave, tell their superior, and then they are asked to not missionize me for a time conisting of more LDS missionary shifts – as long as the memory of my devilish words last. Soon they forget, the mission posts change enough, and I get to plant a few more seeds. Its the way of things around here.


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