Our use of traditional liturgy grounds us not only in our Lutheran heritage, but also in ancient Christian practice well pre-dating the Reformation.  While our hymnal contains five different liturgical settings intended for use in Sunday worship, each of the different settings follows the same general outline.


Worship begins “in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.”  We remember that we are able to enter into the presence of God and to worship him because he has made us his children through baptism into his holy name. (Matthew 28:19)

Confession and Absolution 

We come before our God in humility, confessing our sins before him and joyfully receiving his proclamation of forgiveness in Christ for all of our sins.  (John 20:19-23)


The Introit, usually based on one or more passages of Scripture, reveals the general theme of the day.  The appointed Scripture readings will touch on this theme.

Gloria Patri (“Glory be to the Father”) 

We praise God, singing, “Glory be to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Ghost; as it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be, world without end.”

Kyrie Eleison (“Lord, Have Mercy”) 

We pray the Lord to send us his aid in all of our needs.  (Mark 10:47)

Gloria in Excelsis (“Glory to God in the Highest”) 

We praise our Triune God who has created us, redeemed us, and sanctified us.  (Luke 2:14; John 1:29)


The Pastor greets the congregation, “The Lord be with you.”  (Ruth 2:4)
The congregation responds, “And with thy spirit,” a prayer that the Holy Spirit equip the pastor to serve as the mouthpiece of Christ.  (2 Timothy 4:22)


The collect, or prayer of the day, is a brief prayer related to the theme of the day.

First Reading 

Usually the first appointed Scripture reading comes from the Old Testament. It may record a prophecy that will be fulfilled by Christ in the Gospel reading.

Psalm or Gradual 

Either a Psalm or a Gradual may be spoken or sung between the first two Scripture readings.  The Psalms served as a hymnbook for the Old Testament people of the Lord.  The Gradual usually consists of a combination of Scripture passages, not necessarily from the Psalms.

Second Reading 

Usually the second appointed Scripture reading comes from a New Testament epistle.  Often the Epistle lesson applies the word of God to the life of the believer.

Verse of the Day 

A Scripture passage related to the theme of the day is spoken or sung.  In response to the Verse and in anticipation of the Holy Gospel, the congregation sings, “Alleluia.  Alleluia.  Alleluia.”

Holy Gospel 

The congregation rises to hear the Holy Gospel, which records for us the work and teaching of Christ our Lord.  Before and after the Gospel lesson the congregation briefly glorifies and praises the Lord in song.


Using one of the three ecumenical creeds (usually the Apostles’ Creed or the Nicene Creed), the congregation proclaims the true Christian faith.


The pastor delivers a message typically based on one of the three Scripture lessons appointed for the day.  The sermon applies the law and the gospel to the lives of the faithful.


The people pray the Lord to renew them through their hearing of his word, echoing the words of King David.  (Psalm 51:10-12)

Prayer of the Church 

Usually led by the pastor, the worshipers bring before the Lord various expressions of praise, thanksgiving, or request on their own behalf and on behalf of others in their community, in their nation, or around the world.  (1 Timothy 2:1-4)


The Preface consists of several responsive greetings and encouragements in preparation for the Lord’s Supper.  (2 Timothy 4:22, Colossians 3:1, Psalm 136)

The Proper Preface is a prayer that reflects the theme of the season or of the day.

Sanctus (“Holy, Holy, Holy”) 

The people praise their Lord as they anticipate approaching the altar and receiving him.  (Isaiah 6:3, Matthew 21:9)

Lord’s Prayer 

The pastor and/or the congregation speak or sing the prayer that Jesus taught his disciples to pray.  (Matthew 6:9-13)

The Words of Our Lord 

The pastor consecrates the bread and the wine, speaking or singing the words with which Jesus instituted the Lord’s Supper.  Through the power of his word, Jesus promises to be present with his true body under the bread and with his true blood under the wine.  (Matthew 26:26-28, Mark 14:22-24, Luke 22:19-20, 1 Corinthians 11:23-25)

Pax Domini (“The Peace of the Lord”) 

The Pastor proclaims peace to the congregation.  Through the pierced body and the shed blood of Jesus, we have true peace.

Agnus Dei (“Lamb of God”) 

Jesus Christ is the true Lamb of God who was sacrificed and shed his blood to forgive all the sins of the world.  (John 1:29)


The communicants approach the altar to receive the true body and the true blood of their Lord and Savior for the forgiveness of their sins and for the strengthening of their faith.

Nunc Dimittis (Song of Simeon) 

Having received the Savior of the world personally, the people praise the Lord as they prepare to depart in peace.  (Luke 2:29-32)


The pastor leads the congregation in a prayer of thanksgiving for the gifts that the Lord has granted through the Lord’s Supper.  (Psalm 107:1)

Salutation and Benedicamus 

The Pastor greets the congregation, “The Lord be with you.”  (Ruth 2:4)
The congregation responds, “And with thy spirit.”  (2 Timothy 4:22)

The pastor and the congregation bless and thank the Lord.  (Psalm 103:1)


The pastor pronounces the blessing of the Lord on the congregation. (Numbers 6:24-26)