Each week at St. James, our services follow a liturgical pattern practiced by the church for centuries. In addition, our liturgy is filled with Biblical references. Sometimes we have the words of Scripture written on our hearts, without even realizing it!
During the Gathering, the Holy Spirit calls us together as the people of God. We are greeted with the words, “The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, the love of God, and the communion of the Holy Spirit be with all of you” (2 Corinthians 13:13).
As we listen to the Word, God speaks to us in scripture reading, preaching, and song.
In addition to listening to the Scripture, which is read to us, we also have the
opportunity to sing a Gospel acclamation based on John 6:68—“Simon Peter
answered him, ‘Lord, to who can we go? You have the words of eternal life.”
Although the prayers change weekly to reflect the needs of the congregation,
community, and the world, the form includes several Biblical references.
As we begin the prayers, we are reminded of Psalm 143:1—“Hear my prayer, O LORD;
give ear to my supplications in your faithfulness; answer me in your righteousness.”
1 Timothy 2:1-2, we receive words that help us form the petitions for our prayers, “First of all, then, I urge that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for everyone, for kings and all who are in high positions, so that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and dignity.”
We commend ourselves to God at the end of our prayers, recalling Jesus’ words from the cross in Luke 23:46, “Father, into your hands I commend my spirit.”
God feeds us during the Meal with the presence of Jesus Christ.
The Great Thanksgiving is filled with Biblical references. Lamentations 3:41
invites us to “…lift up our hearts as well as our hands to God….”
We sing Holy, Holy, Holy, which is based on Isaiah 6:3—“and one called to another and said: ‘Holy, holy, holy is the LORD of hosts; the whole earth is full of his glory” and Matthew 21:9—“The crowds that went ahead of him and that followed were shouting ‘Hosanna to the Son of David! Blessed is the one who comes in the name of the Lord! Hosanna in the highest heaven!’”
The Words of Institution are taken from Luke 22:19-20 and 1 Corinthians 11:23-26.
In Matthew 6:9-13, Jesus teaches his followers how to pray: “Pray then in this way: Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name. Your kingdom come. Your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread. And forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors. And do not bring us to the time of trial, but rescue us from the evil one.”
In the Sending, God blesses us and sends into mission in the world.
The Aaronic Blessing (Numbers 6:23b-26) is sometimes used as a benediction:
Speak to Aaron and his sons, saying, Thus you shall bless the Israelites: You shall say to them, The LORD bless you and keep you; the LORD make his face to shine upon you, and be gracious to you; the LORD lift up his countenance upon you, and give you peace.”
As we are sent into service in the world, we are reminded of Jesus’ words to the woman in Luke 7:50, “Your faith has saved you; go in peace.”