The new song for July and August in the 8:30 and 9:45 services at Central Presbyterian Church is “Let Us Love and Sing and Wonder.” The author of the hymn text is John Newton, the 18th-century English pastor and hymn writer who is most well known for writing the lyrics of “Amazing Grace.”
Central Presbyterian Church in St. Louis, Missouri, has three stained glass windows in the balcony overlooking the sanctuary that portray Jesus surrounded by several of his apostles. On Sunday mornings, the rising sun streams through these remarkably colorful windows, and there we behold key parts of the biblical story in visual symbol. The image of the risen, ascended Jesus crowned in heavenly glory and surrounded by Matthew, Mark, Luke, John, Peter, and Paul reminds us that Jesus is the living Lord who is present with us by his Spirit to lead us in worship and that we always worship together with the whole company of saints in heaven who surround us as a great cloud of witnesses.
You can find a link to a brochure that provides a description of these beautiful windows and a commentary on their biblical symbols and meaning on the right hand side of the Worship Is Central home page under “Links.” Or you can click here to see it.
When we gather on Sundays for worship, why do we often call that a “worship service”? This language has a long history. In 1526, Martin Luther published a plan to reform corporate worship in German-speaking churches, and he titled it “An Order of God’s Service.” To this day, many Lutheran churches still call their worship gathering the “Divine Service,” and it has become extremely common for many Christians to speak of assembling for worship services.
But what does that terminology mean? Is corporate worship really “service,” and, if so, who is serving whom?