worship

Our Worship

Preaching of the word and the Lord’s Supper are the two central components of the church’s worship.

Early in the history of the church, there were two separate services: the service of the reading and preaching of scripture, and the celebration of communion. The service of the word was an adaptation of the synagogue service, while the celebration of the meal came from the supper Jesus celebrated with his disciples. We can see something of the beginnings of these two services in the New Testament writings themselves. At the end of the Gospel of Luke, after Jesus’ resurrection, it is said that Jesus appeared to his disciples and interpreted the scriptures to them, and then later, he sat at table with them and “took the bread and blessed, and broke it and gave it to them” (Luke 24:30). It wasn’t long before these two services became one service of worship. The liturgies that developed in the church were structured around the service of preaching and the celebration of the table.

Our worship reflects these two central components of preaching and communion. Related to the service of preaching is the greeting and call to worship, prayers of invocation and confession of sin, the pardon, and everything else that comes before the reading and preaching of scripture. The service of the table begins with the invitation and fencing of the table, and continues with the response, “Lift up your hearts…,” the great prayer of thanksgiving, and everything else that follows. Hymns are sung in appropriate places in both parts of the worship. The various parts of our worship are ordered around preaching and the Lord’s Supper.

Christian worship is formed by the Word of God. We are accustomed to calling the sermon the proclamation of the word. We should also think of the Lord’s Supper as the word. Augustine called it the visible word. Thus, in Christian worship, we have the word audible and visible. The audible word is the reading and the preaching of scripture; the visible word is the sacraments. There is real advantage in describing worship in this way, since it shows the continuity of the church’s worship. It is the same word throughout the service. Yet, even more, this designation holds together preaching and communion with the living Lord Jesus Christ. The Gospel of John refers to Jesus Christ as the Word: “In the beginning was the Word and the Word was with God….” The proclamation of the word in preaching and the sacraments is the proclamation of the living Word. The living Word makes himself known to us in the audible and visible word. So, it is Jesus Christ who meets us in the proclamation from the pulpit and the table.

Worship is at the center of the church’s life. In worship, we hear the Lord’s word comforting us, warning us, and setting our faith on Christ. This is also where he feeds us and has communion with us. From worship, we go forth strengthened to serve our Lord in the world.

In addition to our Lord’s Day worship services, Providence provides the following additional opportunities for fellowship and study:

  • Christian Education classes are held following the worship service and social hour.
  • Special classes are held for children (who are also welcome to attend the adult Christian Education), as well as for those who are considering joining the church.
  • Christian Faith and Life Meetings on Wednesdays—7:00 PM
  • Friday Evening Prayer, monthly
  • Potluck Fellowship Dinners are held the first Sunday of every month following Christian Education.
  • Book studies are held as announced.
  • Fellowship dinners are hosted periodically by various members for others in their geographic region.
  • Other activities such as camping, canoe trips, and summer camps, are planned as opportunities arise.