An Explanation

of the Divine Service



When people hear the term "Divine Service" often they think that this is what we do for God; that it is our duty toward God. In reality, the opposite is true. In the Divine Service God comes to us in His Word and in the sacraments, (see Acts 2:42, Romans 6:4, and Luke 22:19) and we respond with thanks and praise. The Augsburg Confession tells us that

"The worship and divine service of the Gospel is to receive gifts from

God." This removes any pressure we may put on ourselves to think or feel a certain way. Our role is simply to come and receive the blessings of our gracious Father.

Many Christians have never heard the term "liturgy." The liturgy is the framework for our worship. It is written in modern language, but seeks to separate itself from everyday pop culture. The congregation of College Hill Lutheran Church follows the basic liturgical orders used by the church for the last 2000 years. It is rooted in Old Testament and New Testament worship practice, and has great testimony in the Scriptures.

The Scriptures listed first are directly quoted in the liturgy. The Scriptures in parentheses offer supporting material.




Invocation Matthew 28:19 Matthew 18:20)

Beginning the service in God's name orders the worship, making it clear that this is His service to us, not our service or someone else's.

The invocation also recalls our baptism and reminds us we are joined in Christ.

Confession and Absolution 1 John 1:8-9, Psalms 124:8, 130:3-4

(Luke 18:13, John 20:19-23, Ephesians 2:8-9)

In confession we acknowledge our total dependence on God's mercy for our salvation. Absolution is a very personal Gospel message, telling us we receive salvation earned by Christ's death.





Introit, Psalm, or Entrance Hymn (Psalm 43:4)

The word "introit" is Latin for entrance. During this time the pastor takes his place in front of the altar.

Kyrie Mark 10:47

"Kyrie eleison" is a Greek phrase for "Lord, have mercy." We have already received the mercy of God for forgiveness in Absolution. Now we ask his mercy for all other needs.

Hymn of Praise Luke 2:14, John 1:29, Revelation 5:12-13, 19:5-9

(Omitted during Advent and Lent)

We praise God, using the same words the angels sang at Christ's birth or using the words of the angels in heaven before the throne of God.

Salutation 2 Timothy 4:22, (Ruth 2:4)

The Salutation is found all through the Scriptures. This is not a prayer. It is a greeting which acknowledges the spiritual bond between the pastor and the congregation. The Salutation shows mutual respect and honor.

Collect of the Day (Philippians 4:5-7)

The Collect is a short general prayer based on the theme of the day.

Most collects have been in continuous use for over 1500 years, vet the prayers are as relevant today as they were when first written.


Old Testament Reading Luke 4:17-20]

The Old Testament teaches us about God's work prior to Christ's birth. This lesson prepares us to hear the Gospel lesson, where the Old Testament prophecies and promises are fulfilled in Christ.

Psalm o! Gradual Ephesians 5:19. Psalm 89:1)

Psalms echo the Old Testament reading or anticipate the Gospel


Epistle Reading (Acts 2:42, 2 Timothy 3:16)

The Epistles record the lives and teaching of the early Apostles. They are both instructional and inspirational. This lesson often shows God's Word actively creating faith, providing forgiveness, or strengthening believers.

Alleluia and Verse John 6:68, John 20:31, Joel 2:13

The Alleluia or the Verse is sung, depending on the season of the church year. This acknowledges that we are about to hear actual accounts of Christ's life and his teachings.

Gospel Reading (John 6:63)

The third reading of the day comes from the life and teachings of Christ. It often establishes the theme of the day which is usually noticeable in the other parts of the service. This is the central reading of the service.

Creed (Romans 10:9-10, Ephesians 4:4-6)

The creed is a spoken summary of the Christian faith. The three creeds, Apostles', Nicene, and Athanasian, signify our allegiance to Christian teachings and unite us with fellow Christians. In some of the Divine Service settings, the creed may come after the sermon.

Hymn of the Day (Colossians 3:16)

The only Lutheran addition to the historic liturgy, this hymn usually reflects the theme of the day or emphasizes the sermon text.

Sermon (1 Corinthians 1:23, 2 Timothy 4:1-2)

The sermon will contain both Law, which convicts us of our sins, and Gospel, which delivers Christ's saving death and resurrection to us.

Prayer of the Church (1 Timothy 2:1-4)

Gathered together, we have the privilege to pray not only for ourselves, but also for the world.

Offering and Offertory Psalm 116:12-13, 17-19

Our offerings, given in thanksgiving, acknowledge that all we have comes from God




Preface and 2 Timothy 4:22

Proper Preface (Colossians 3:1, Psalm 136)

First recorded in AD 220, this dialog and prayer begins the liturgy of the Lord's Supper.

Each season in the church year has its own unique text.

Sanctus Isaiah 6:3, Matthew 21:9

We echo the praise of the angels to acknowledge the presence of God.

Prayer of Thanksgiving and Matthew 6:9-13

The Lord's Prayer

We give thanks for salvation history in the Church's table prayer.

Because it is His supper, we pray the prayer He taught us.

The Words of Our Lord Matthew 26:26-28, Mark 14:22-24, Luke 22:19-20,

1 Corinthians 11:23-26

In the Words of our Lord, he delivers His body and blood for our forgiveness. The words do what they say.

Pax Domini John 20:19

This Latin Term means "peace of the Lord." With this blessing we are assured of God's comfort and presence.

Angus Dei John 1:29

The Agnus Dei ("Lamb of God") reminds us that Christ is the Lamb of God, sacrificed for our forgiveness.

Distribution (1 Corinthians 11:23-26)

Communicants receive the body and blood of Christ for the forgiveness of their sins and eternal salvation. Guests are kindly asked to speak with the pastor before the service if they desire to commune.

Post-Communion Canticle and Collect Luke 2:29-32, (Psalm 136)

We thank the Lord for his gifts of forgiveness, life, and salvation, and pray that He will give us faith to use them in love toward our neighbor.

Benediction Numbers 6:24-26

With the same blessing which God gave His people in the Old Testament, we are sent out in His Triune name,



Information in this document is, in part, based on Worshipping with Angels and Archangels by Scott A. Kinneman, CPH, 2006,