Worship is deeply Biblical. The Bible is read and sung and proclaimed throughout our worship service, and not just in the Scripture reading and preaching. But let’s start there.
Lutheran worship has two main centers to it – Word and Sacrament. This is part of an ancient tradition of Christian worship that is recorded in the book of Acts. “They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer” (Acts 2:42).
In the Word portion of our service we read a story from Scripture. From September through May, we read from a lectionary – a reading schedule – called the Narrative Lectionary. We move through the Bible’s story from Genesis to Jesus and the Early Church. On Sunday mornings we usually read just one passage from the Bible.
We usually read an entire story, not just a single or small number of verses. We’ll read five, ten, twenty verses or even an entire chapter. The wisdom of Scripture, the movement and mercy of God, is found as we listen to the story unfold. Pastor preaches on the story, usually tying God’s story into our story, helping us make connections between Scripture and our lives.
The other main center of worship is the sharing of Holy Communion, one of two sacraments in the Lutheran church. Holy Communion is the meal our Lord shared with his disciples in his Last Supper, and about which Paul instructs the early church at Corinth. In fact, the Words of Institution we use during Holy Communion are taken directly from 1 Corinthians. Sometimes we sing a “sanctus,” a traditional song of praise that includes verses from Isaiah, Revelation, and Mark.
[For a detailed list of over 65 scriptural references in the Eucharistic Prayer, see this post from September 2017.]
Indeed, throughout our service we sing Scripture. Whether the Kyrie (“ancient words set to a new tune,” as Pastor Chris often says) which is rooted in Mark’s Gospel, or the Scripture Acclamation (which is often rooted in the Psalms), or any of our songs … overwhelmingly the songs of worship are rooted in, or direct quotes from, Scripture.