Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Order of worship from the Letters to the Corinthians

Last summer I mentioned a long-term project of mine: orders of worship in which every word closely tracks Scripture. The goal goes beyond quoting Scripture throughout the service; the goal is to let each portion of Scripture shape how we worship. Because this order of worship is from the letters to the Corinthians, it has several open calls for participation from the congregation as Paul described in his writings to them. I've made this order of worship as creative commons (CC-NC-SA). If anyone uses this as a worship service, please let me know anything that may need smoothing to flow well. This version includes the Scripture citations.

Blessing to begin worship

P: Grace and peace to you from God our Father and from the Lord Jesus Christ. (I Cor 1:3)
C: Thanks be to God for the grace he has given us in Jesus Christ. (I Cor 1:4)

Call for confession of sins

P: Brothers and sisters, if there is jealousy and quarreling among you, are you not worldly? (I Cor 3:1, 3)
Come back to your senses as you ought, and stop sinning. (I Cor 15:34)
Christ died for all, that those who live should no longer live for themselves, but for him who died for them and was raised again. (II Cor 5:15)
We implore you on Christ's behalf: be reconciled to God. (II Cor 5:20)

Confession of sins

C: We have been impatient. We have been unkind. We have been jealous and boastful and proud. We have been rude, self-seeking, and easily angered. We have kept a record of wrongs. We have delighted in evil rather than the truth. We have not protected, we have not trusted, we have not hoped, we have not persevered. (I Cor 13:4-7)

Proclamation of forgiveness in Christ

P: God is reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting our sins against us. (II Cor 5:19)
C: God made Christ, who had no sin, to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God. (II Cor 5:21)

Call for mutual forgiveness

P: If you forgive anyone, I also forgive him. And what I have forgiven, I have forgiven in the sight of Christ for your sakes, so that Satan might not outwit us.
C: For we are not unaware of the accuser’s schemes.

Call for participation in worship

P: Brothers and sisters, you are the body of Christ.
C: Each one of us is a part of it. (I Cor 12:27)

P: When we come together, everyone has a hymn, or a word of instruction, or a revelation, a tongue or an interpretation.
C: All of these must be done for the strengthening of the church. (I Cor 14:26)

P: Everything should be done in a fitting and orderly way.
C: For God is not a God of disorder but of peace. (I Cor 14:33)

The leader calls forward those with hymns or songs, two or three as it says also of the others, and the hymns or songs are sung. If the congregation decides it is best to schedule some songs in advance so that one or more musicians may practice, the person who called for the song may be permitted a brief introduction or dedication at the time it is sung.

The leader calls forward those with a word of instruction, “two or three” as it says. The words of instruction are introduced by saying:

P: If I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal.
C: If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. (I Cor 13:1-2)

Any with words of instruction come forward to speak.

At the discretion of the congregation, this next call may be generally included, or included only on request.

P: If anyone speaks in a tongue, two – or at the most three – should speak, one at a time, and someone must interpret. If there is no interpreter, the speaker should keep quiet in the church and speak to himself and God. (I Cor 14:27-28)

Any with tongues and interpretations come forward to speak.

Attending to the gospel of Jesus Christ

P: Now, brothers, I want to remind you of the gospel that was presented to you, which you have believed, and on which you have taken your stand. (I Cor 15:1).
For I resolved to know nothing which I was among you except Jesus Christ, and him crucified. (I Cor 2:2)

A section from the gospel is read, followed by a word of instruction on the gospel. Those that do not use a set lectionary may read something fitting for the day or occasion, or read through a book of the gospel week by week.

Special offering for the needy

If there is a special offering for the needy, it may be introduced with these words. This introduction should only be used on an offering taken specifically for the needy.

P: Now about the collection for the needy: On the first day of every week, each one of you should set aside a sum of money in keeping with his income, saving it up. (I Cor 16:1-2)
C: This service that we perform is not only supplying the needs of God’s people, but is also overflowing in many expressions of thanks to God. (II Cor 9:12)

The offering is received.

Blessing as the offering is presented

P: Because of the service by which you have proved yourselves, people will praise God for the obedience that accompanies your confession of the good news of Christ, and for your generosity in sharing with them and with everyone else. And in their prayers for you, their hearts will go out to you, because of the surpassing grace God has given you.
C: Thanks to be God for his indescribable gift of grace. (II Cor 9:13-15)

General offering, including offering for called workers

C: Who serves as a solider at his own expense? Who plants a vineyard and does not eat the grapes? (I Cor 9:7)
Let us then give those who serve at the altar a share of what is offered on the altar. (I Cor 9:13)


P: Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort.
C: For he comforts us in all our troubles. (II Cor 1:3-4)

Prayers and intercessions may be offered here

P: Many will give thanks to God for the gracious favor granted in answer to prayers. (II Cor 1:11)

The Lord’s Supper

P: The Lord Jesus, on the night he was betrayed, took bread, and when he had given thanks, he broke it and said, “This is my body, given for you; do this in remembrance of me.”
In the same way, after supper he took the cup, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in my blood; do this, whenever you drink it, in remembrance of me.”
For whenever we eat this bread and drink this cup, we proclaim the Lord’s death until he comes. (I Cor 11:23-26)

P: Christ, our Passover, is sacrificed for us.
C: Therefore, let us keep the feast. (I Cor 5:7-8)

One or more songs may be sung while people receive the Lord’s Supper.

Dismissal and Call to mission

P: You are a letter from Christ, written not with ink but with the Spirit of the Living God.
C: Not on tablets of stone but on tablets of the human heart. (II Cor 3:3)

P: God is reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting men’s sins against them.
C: He has committed to us the message of reconciliation. We are therefore Christ’s ambassadors, as though God were making is appeal through us. (II Cor 5:19-20)

Blessing after worship

P: May the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all. (II Cor 13:14)

No comments: