Saying back to him what he has said to us, we repeat what is most true and sure. Most true and sure is his name, which he put on us with the water of our Baptism. We are his. This we acknowledge at the beginning of the Divine Service. Where his name is, there is he. Before him we acknowledge that we are sinners, and we plead for forgiveness. His forgiveness is given us, and we, freed and forgiven, acclaim him as our great and gracious God as we apply ourselves the words he has used to make himself known to us.
The rhythm of our worship is from him to us, and then from us back to him. He gives his gifts, and together we receive and extol them. We build one another up as we speak to one another in psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs. Our Lord gives us his body to eat and his blood to drink. Finally his blessing moves us out into our calling, where his gifts have their fruition. How best to do this we may learn from his Word and from the way his Word has prompted his worship through the centuries. We are heirs of an astonishingly rich tradition. Each generation receives from those who went before and, in making that tradition of the Divine Service its own, adds what best may serve in its own day—the living heritage and something new.”1
In the Divine Service God serves us by rooting us firmly in his grace, forgiveness, and peace that we then carry with us in our vocations and stations of life. In the Divine Service God reaffirms our true and lasting identity as the “bought back” children of God so that we can more firmly embrace that identity as we confront the daily challenges that await us within our vocations. In the Divine Service God is at work to reassure us of the true meaning and purpose of our lives in Christ so that we can live out the responsibilities of our vocations with renewed meaning and purpose. Finally, in the Divine Service God is at work to keep us secure—safe and secure in the gracious presence of Christ. When Christian Worship begins with God and is, through and through, about God serving us in Christ so that we are equipped to serve others with his love, then the purposes of God in this world and the purposes of Christian Worship become happily joined!
1Lutheran Worship, “Introduction” (St. Louis: CPH, 1986), 6.