About Our Worship
Worship is typically viewed by humanity as what we do to approach a higher power. Even in places where worship is considered a two-way communication (God to man, man to God), worship is viewed as an act to appease God or to earn His favor. This view of worship has everything backwards. We do not ascend to God, rather he descends to us. He does this not to give us all the things we want, but rather the things He knows we need.
Our services are ordered around the gifts of God to us in worship. Our worship has a flow to it, both maintaining order and highlighting how it is God comes to us. We come together to receive these and respond is praise for all He has given us - as has been done since the early church:
And they devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers. (Acts 2:42)
Below you will find some elements of worship in our services, and the meaning behind them. We would love to worship our Savior with you here in San Bernardino.
In the name of the Father, and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.
We call upon the name of the triune God to bless our time together and acknowledge His presence in our service. We are also reminded our of baptism, into the same name (and if you see anyone making the sign of the cross, this is what they are doing).
Though we have confidence in approaching God through our baptism, here we keep it real. None of us can say we deserve to be there. None of us have loved God throughout the week with all our heart, soul, mind and strength. None of us have loved our neighbors as ourselves. We don’t do this to earn anything, but to rightly confess that when we compare ourselves to God’s Word we come up short.
Our doubt and guilt are then silenced, as God speaks “I forgive you all your sins.” Jesus speaks these words through our pastor, as Jesus himself said to his disciples that the sins they forgive are forgiven (John 20:23).
We hear the Word of the Lord read. Our church follows a lectionary, a fancy term for a related set of Old Testament, Psalm, Epistle and Gospel readings assigned to dates over three years. This allows us to teach through the life and times of Jesus, as there is something new to discover every time. Typically we stay seated for the Old Testament and Epistle reading, and stand up in honor of the Words of our Lord in the Gospel reading.
If you’d like to look ahead to see what is coming up and study yourself, you can find our lectionary for the current year here.
In the sermon, our pastor teaches on the selected texts and applies them to our lives. Here we are disciples, being taught all Jesus has said. We hear of our need for forgiveness, but also hear of God’s mercy and love.
He said to them, “But who do you say that I am?” Simon Peter replied, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.” (Matthew 16:15-16)
We confess who Jesus is and what he has done, using the creeds which Christians of all ages have confessed, standing aside Christians through all the ages.
We give back to God as we see fit what he has given us for the sake of our community. Here we fellowship, gathering that Word may continue to be spoken to us, and that we may care for those in our community who need help.
We thank God for what he has given us, and also ask that we would take His words to heart. We also pray for the needs of our community, and of all people.
We receive the true body and blood of Jesus Christ. Our sins are forgiven as we believe His words: Given and shed for you.
We pray the very prayer Jesus taught us, a prayer we know is in his will, asking for what we know we need. This is the prayer that guides us through our daily life as Christians.
The pastor speaks the priestly blessing over the congregation, the blessing the Lord gave Moses to bless the people with in the Lord’s name.
The Lord bless you and keep you; the Lord make his face to shine upon you and be gracious to you; the Lord lift up his countenance upon you and give you peace. (Numbers 6:24-26)
Having received the Word of the Lord, His forgiveness, and His body and blood, we can leave know we have peace with God, a peace only those who He has found can know.