Sunday, the Lord’s Day, is the most important day of the week for Redeemer Reformed Church. This is the day of Jesus’ resurrection, the first day of New Creation. As a result, gathering for corporate worship is fitting for that day. We believe the Bible should give shape to worship and helps us to know what to include and exclude. Instead of patterning the way we worship after something that “works,” we pattern it after God’s covenant with us. Biblical covenants all have a basic 5-part form:
- God takes hold.
- God separates and makes something new.
- God speaks.
- God grants ritual signs and seals.
- God arranges for the future.
Thus, a Covenant Renewal Worship Liturgy looks like this:
- Call to Worship: God comes near and calls His people out of the world to gather in His presence. He graciously takes hold of us and brings us near to Himself.
- Confession and Forgiveness: God reminds us what He has done for us in Christ and declares His interest in restoring us again to His favor in Christ. We confess our sins and God absolves us of guilt. God graciously reminds us that we bear the name Christian and are members of His family in Christ. He tears us from our old sinful ways and renews His love for us in Christ.
- Scripture Readings and Sermon: God speaks to us through His Word.
- The Lord’s Supper: the goal of the service (a covenant renewal within a covenant renewal). God invites us to commune with Him at His covenant meal, and we respond by memorializing His covenant and enjoying His faithful provisions at the family feast. His people give themselves and their gifts as a fitting offering.
- The Benediction and Commissioning: God blesses us and charges us to extend His kingdom into the future and into the world, making disciples of all nations. We are dismissed from God’s special presence, renewed, and equipped for this task.
This liturgy is called the Divine Service because rather than us primarily serving God, God glorifies His saints by distributing His life-giving Word and Sacraments. He serves the congregation. This results in a very reverent and participatory service, which can be jarring and feel quite foreign if you’re not used to it. At first, it might seem to be not “from the heart.” We invite everyone to attend at least 4-6 services so that you can start to resonate with the tones and rhythm of a Covenant Renewal Service. Most people find that they didn’t know what they were missing!
More information on this subject can be found in Jeffrey Meyes’ excellent book, The Lord’s Service: The Grace of Covenant Renewal Worship (Canon Press, 2003). Pastor Meyer’s church is Providence Reformed Presbyterian Church (PCA) in St. Louis. Also, for further understanding, you might want to read: Why Does the Pastor Wear a White Robe?
The prelude for the Covenant Renewal Service begins a bit before 9 a.m. and is finished by 10:30 a.m. Children are welcomed not only to attend the service, but at the Lord’s Table if they are baptized. A nursery is provided for use at the parents’ discretion.
We also have a high view of Christian Education. Our Sunday school follows the worship service and runs approximately 10:45 until 11:30. There are multiple classes for children according to age (meet on the 2nd floor) and one large class for adults and older teens (meets in the fellowship hall). Besides the best Christian education we can provide, Sunday school also offers fellowship opportunities to get to know others in the church. There is usually a lot of food and talking before class begins.