This summer I mentioned a long-term project of mine: liturgies in which every word closely tracks Scripture. Here is the first real milestone; the text to this liturgy is now usable. Most of the key texts here are from the Gospel of Matthew. I suppose I'm more of an arranger than anything else in this, since the words are none of them originally mine except in the arrangement. I've made this as creative commons (CC-NC-SA). Other notes will follow in an upcoming post. If anyone uses this as a worship service, please mention anything that may need smoothing to flow smoothly in a worship service. This version includes the Scripture citations, but I expect to post one that is either without the citations or formatted so they're more inobtrusive. I will make a better-formatted version available (MSWord or pdf) as time permits.
P: In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. (Matt 28:19)
P: Our Lord Jesus calls us to repent, for the kingdom of heaven is near (Matt 3:2, 4:17). He has said, "It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick. I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners." (Matt 9:12-13)
C: Lord, I confess that my heart is unclean. (Matt 12:35). Out of it come evil thoughts, murder, adultery, sexual immorality, theft, false testimony, and slander. (15:19). I have spoken careless words (12:36). I have loved the place of honor and importance (23:6). I have neglected justice, mercy, and faithfulness (23:23). Yet you have not come to call the righteous, but sinners. (Matt 9:13). Lord, forgive us our sins. (Matt 6:12).
* Kyrie or other penitential song may be sung here
P: The Lord desires mercy, not sacrifice. (Matt 9:13) Our Savior has taught us, "The Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins. Take heart; your sins are forgiven." (Matt 9:6, 2).
* This or another song of thanksgiving for God’s mercy may be sung
Praise the LORD, O my soul;
All my inmost being, praise his holy name.
Praise the LORD, O my soul,
And forget not all his benefits.
Who forgives all your sins
And heals all your diseases
Who redeems your life from the pit
And crowns you with love and compassion
The LORD is compassionate and gracious,
Slow to anger, abounding in love.
He will not always accuse,
Nor will he harbor his anger forever;
He does not treat us as our sins deserve
Or repay us according to our trespasses.
For as high as the heavens are above the earth,
So great is his love for those who fear him;
As far as the east is from the west,
So far has he removed our transgressions from us.
Prayers for our enemies
P: The Lord has also taught us to pray for our enemies. Being thankful for his forgiveness, let us pray: (Matt 5:44)
P: Lord, we praise you and give thanks to you, for you are good. (Ps 106:1)
C: Your mercy endures forever. (Ps 106:1)
P: While we were yet your enemies (Romans 5:8-10)
C: You died for us (Romans 5:8-10)
P: The righteous for the unrighteous (1 Peter 3:18)
C: To bring us back to you. (1 Peter 3:18)
P: Lord, have mercy on us. (Luke 18:3)
C: Have mercy on us sinners. (Luke 18:3)
P: Lord, if you kept record of our sins (Psalm 130:3)
C: Who could stand before you? (Psalm 130:3)
P: Do not bring your servant into judgment, (Ps 143:2)
C: For no one living is righteous before you. (Ps 143:2)
P: When I hid my faults (Psalm 32:3)
C: I wasted away. (Psalm 32:3)
P: When I confessed my transgression (Psalm 32:5)
C: You forgave the iniquity of my sin. (Psalm 32:5)
P: You oppose the proud (1 Peter 5:5)
C: But give grace to the humble. (1 Peter 5:5)
P. You, O Christ, came into the world to save sinners (1 Tim 1:15)
C: Of whom I am the chief. (1 Tim 1:15)
P: You have taught us to pray: Forgive us our sins (Matt 6:12)
C: As we forgive those who sin against us. (Matt 6:12)
P: Let mercy be the measure we use for others; (Matt 5:7, 7:2)
C: May their cups overflow with blessing. (Ps 23:5)
P: We remember before you all our enemies: (Matt 5:44)
C: May knowing you bring peace. (2 Peter 1:2)
P: We remember before you all who have wronged others. (Matt 5:44)
C: May your mercy turn hearts of stone to hearts of flesh. (Ezekiel 11:19)
P: We remember before you all who hide secret guilt: (Ps 19:12)
C: Create clean hearts, O Lord, and renew a right spirit. (Ps 51:10)
P: Let the sinners turn back to you: (Ps 51:13)
C: No one will be condemned who takes refuge in you. (Ps 34:22)
P: Let us proclaim your righteousness in the great assembly (Ps 40:9)
C: Let us not seal our lips or hide your righteousness (Ps 40:9-10)
P: Let us speak of your faithfulness and salvation (Ps 40:10)
C: Let us not conceal your love and your truth. (Ps 40:10)
P: Blessed is the one whose transgression is forgiven. (Psalm 32:1)
C: Whose sin is covered (Psalm 32:1)
P: Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good; (Psalm 106:1)
C: His mercy endures forever. (Psalm 106:1)
P: Man does not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of the Lord. (Matt 4:4)
Old Testament Reading
The leader may choose the introduction most fitting for the gospel text of the day.
P: God has proclaimed, “This is my Son, whom I love. With him I am well pleased. Listen to him.” (Matt 17:5)
P: Jesus has called us, “Come to me, all who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke on you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. (Matt 11:28-29).
The leader may choose the conclusion most fitting for the gospel text of the day.
For readings containing commands or exhortation
P: Whoever hears the sayings of the Lord and does them is like a wise man who built his house upon a rock. When the storm came that house did not fall. (Matt 7:24).
For readings containing miracles, promises, or blessings
P: May the whole earth know the Scriptures and the power of God. (Matt 22:29)
For readings containing proclamations or other teachings
P: What I tell you in the dark, speak in the daylight; what is whispered in your ear, proclaim from the rooftops. (Matt 10:27)
Hymn of the day
* A hymn or other song may be sung
Preparation for Offering
If we have a gift to bring to the Lord and remember that our brother has anything against us, we should leave our gift at the altar and first go and be reconciled to our brother. After we reconcile, then we may offer our gift. (Matt 5:23-24).
Silence for self-examination
In keeping with our Lord’s calling, let us help the poor (Matthew 19:21), and give unto God that which is God’s (Matthew 22:21).
Jesus invites us to ask, to seek, to knock, to come before God expecting good from him (Matt 7:7, 11). For our Father knows what we need before we ask him. (Matt 6:8)
Lord, wherever you traveled among the people, you were sought out by the sick, by their friends and family, by those for whom they worked. We, too, come to you on behalf of our loved ones. (Matt 8:1-17; 9:1-8, 18-24; 17:14-23).
Special prayers and intercessions may follow
Let us praise the Lord and hallow his name ... (Matt 6:9)
Advent: who blessed Mary with a son, Jesus Christ our Lord, to save his people from their sins. (Matt 1:21)
Christmas: for it was fulfilled what the Lord spoke by the prophet: They shall call his name Emmanuel, which means God With Us. (Matt 1:22-23)
Epiphany: whose Christ was sought and worshiped by the wise men. (Matt 2:11)
Lent: for Jesus taught that he must go to Jerusalem and suffer many things, and be killed, and be raised again on the third day. (Matt 16:21)
Resurrection: for on this blessed and glorious day, the angel first proclaimed the joyous news at the grave: “He is not here. He is risen!" (Matt 28:5-6)
Congregation: He is risen indeed! Alleluia!
Pentecost: who sent John the Baptist to baptize with water, and sent one greater to baptize with the Holy Spirit and with fire. (Matt 3:11)
Sundays after Pentecost: who has promised that wherever two or three are gathered together in his name, he is here with us. (Matt 18:20)
End Times (Troubled times): who compared the kingdom of heaven to a wedding banquet for the king’s son, and has invited us to come to the wedding banquet. (Matt 22:2, 4)
End Times (Untroubled times): who has urged us to watch, for we do not know at what hour our Lord will come. (Matt 24:42)
The Lord’s Prayer
Our Father in heaven
Hallowed be your name
Your kingdom come
Your will be done on earth,
As it is in heaven.
Give us today our daily bread,
And forgive us our trespasses
As we forgiven those who trespass against us.
Lead us not into temptation,
But deliver us from the evil one. (Matt 6:9-13)
Confession of Faith
Nicene Creed (ancient ecumenical form)
We believe in one God, the Father, the Almighty,
maker of heaven and earth, (Hebrews 1:2)
of all that is, seen and unseen. (Col 1:16)
We believe in one Lord, Jesus Christ, the only Son of God, (John 1:14, 1:18)
eternally begotten of the Father,
God from God, light from light, true God from true God, (Col 1:19, Heb 1:3)
begotten, not made, (John 3:16, 3:18)
of one being with the Father; (John 10:30)
Through him all things were made, (John 1:3, Col 1:16, Heb 1:2)
For us, and for our salvation, he came down from heaven, (Phil 2:7)
was incarnate of the Holy Spirit and the Virgin Mary, (Matt 1:21, Luke 1:34-35)
and was made man. (Matt 1:25)
For our sake he was crucified under Pontius Pilate.
He suffered death and was buried.
On the third day he rose again in accordance with the Scriptures. (Matt 27:11-28:10 and parallels)
He ascended into heaven (Luke 24:50-51, Acts 1:9)
and is seated at the right hand of the Father. (Mt 22:44, 26:64; Mk 14:62, Lk 20:42, 22:69, Acts 2:33, Heb 1:3)
He will come again in glory to judge the living and the dead, (Acts 1:11)
and his kingdom will have no end. (Luke 1:33)
We believe in the Holy Spirit,
the Lord, the giver of life, (John 6:63; Rom 8:2, 8:10; Gal 6:8)
who proceeds from the Father, (Luke 15:26)
who in unity with the Father and the Son is worshiped and glorified; (Mt 28:19, 2 Cor 13:14)
who has spoken through the prophets. (Acts 1:16, 1 Peter 1:10-11, 2 Peter 1:21)
We believe in one holy catholic and apostolic church. (Eph 4:3-5; Matt 10:2 and parallels; Acts 1:2-4)
We acknowledge one baptism for the forgiveness of sins. (Acts 2:38)
We look for the resurrection of the dead (Matt 22:29-31, 1 Thess 4:16)
and the life of the world to come. (1 Thess 4:17)
The Lord’s Supper
The Lord Jesus, on the night he was betrayed, took bread, and when he had given thanks, he broke it and said, “Take and eat. This is my body.” Then he took the cup, gave thanks, and offered it to them, saying, “Drink from it, all of you. This is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins. (Matt 26:26-28)
* The Agnus Dei may be sung, or other song that proclaims Christ as the lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world
* During the distribution, hymns or other songs may be sung
Go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything the Lord has commanded us. And surely the Lord is with you always, to the very end of the age. (Matt 28:19-20)
* A hymn or other song may be sung