All Saints Anglican  All Saints’ Church
Greenville, SC REC Reformed Episcopal ACNA Anglican Church in North America Parish 1928 BCP 1928 Book of Common Prayer Divine Hours Daily Offices Breviary terce sext compline prime vespers

Week 7

Liturgical Note: At its heart the sign of the cross is always an act of identification, focus, and assurance.

 

First, the sign of the cross identifies something as being placed before God (that something may be a prayer, an amen to a prayer or blessing, an act of  worship, a deed of service, someone seeking a blessing, something to be set apart for use in God’s house, or etc...).

 

Second, as we place our offering before God, the sign of the cross reminds us that what we bring is to be offered to God in God’s name. That is, it is to be offered according to God’s will and on the basis of Christ’s all sufficient sacrifice.

 

Third, the sign of the cross provides assurance, reminding us that when we turn to God in His name (i.e. according to His will), He hears us and grants us His blessings and favor on the basis of Christ’s all sufficient sacrifice. Notice then:

Romans 8:32 He who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him up for us all, how will He not also with Him freely give us all things?

Luke 12:32 "Do not be afraid, little flock, for your Father has chosen gladly to give you the kingdom.

Notice then: the sign of the cross serves as book ends to a particular act of devotion: it reminds us of our focus (God’s will) as well as gives us the assurance that God accepts our devotion and grants His promises in light of Christ’s sacrifice.

 

Liturgical location: We are in the midst of the liturgy of the Word. Thus far, we have heard God’s Word read, we have professed its central teachings by way of the Nicene Creed, and now we turn to hear God’s Word expounded and proclaimed.

 

I] Announcements:

Just before the sermon the announcements are made. According to the rubric in the Prayer Book, this portion of the service is set aside to alert the parish to upcoming feast days, liturgical matters, and other events. As such, the announcements not only keep the parish informed, they also serve to tie the worship for that Sunday to the bigger redemptive themes of the Church calendar (thus the announcements are a part of the ministry of the Word).

 

J] Sermon Hymn 

Remember, hymns are not just fun sing alongs. Rather, they are offerings of praise and thanksgiving given to God. At the same time, hymns combine the cognitive, emotional, and physical aspects of worship into a single Scripture directed response. Therefore, they demonstrate the holistic nature of the Gospel (the Gospel is proclaimed to the whole of a person because grace redeems the whole of a person. In turn, we are to respond with our whole person).

 

Finally, notice hymns are corporate in nature. Therefore, they are always meant to inform, prompt, and unite our response to some particular part of the service. The Sermon hymn directs our response to the readings and the Creed we have just heard and prepares us for the preaching of God’s Word we are about to hear. Thus, throughout the service the hymns exemplify the active nature of the Liturgy.

K] Sermon:

With the sermon we reach the culmination of the Liturgy of the Word. Importance: remember, the Liturgy of the Word comes first in our service because it is the basis of all that we do in both our worship and our daily walk. Notice then:

·       Scripture reveals who God is, who we are, and what God has given us in His Son

·       Scripture provides the basis and the content of the prayers that we will offer in the next portion of the service (our prayers are to be Scripture directed).

·       It is through the reception of the Gospel that we have fellowship with Christ and thus entrance to His Table (thus each week we begin by renewing that faith).

·       As we approach the Table, we are called to examine ourselves according to Scripture (God’s standard not our own).

·       The Covenant and fellowship enjoyed at the Table are those expounded by God’s Word

·       Finally, grace renews us according to God’s Word.

Simply put, the whole of the Christian walk is according to God’s Word. Therefore, God’s Word comes first and provides the basis of all that we do in life and worship.

 

Next, notice that the Sermon begins,

In the name of the Father and the Son and The Holy Ghost. Amen.”

 

Importance: the priest does not stand to offer His own opinions. Rather, he is charged to expound God’s Word faithfully. At the same time, we are reminded that the sermon is not just the responsibility of the priest. Rather, it is offered to God as an act of corporate worship. Notice then that once again, we see liturgy as the work of the people. God’s people are not passive spectators who merely listen to the sermon. Rather, they are active participants in the sermon who join the priest in offering this portion of worship to God. How?

 

As God’s word is preached, each believer is called to listen, to believe, to examine his life, repent of his sins, trust God’s grace, and worship God for His goodness and majesty. As such, it is the collective motions of our hearts as we receive God’s Word, that are offered to God in this portion of the worship.

 

Notice then this point is reflected by the corporate Amen at both the beginning and end of the sermon. We all say “Amen” because we all offer this portion of worship to God.

 

Here ends the Liturgy of the Word- it is vital that we remember that the distinction between the liturgy of the Word and the liturgy of the Sacrament is only made in the case of the unbeliever. The unbeliever is invited to hear God’s Word that he might believe. However, on the other hand, he is excluded from the Lord’s Table, thereby warning him that he remains apart from Christ. Thus, the division between the liturgies serves as a witness. For the believer though, the service is a single undivided whole.

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