A VISITOR’S GUIDE TO WORSHIP
We welcome you in the name of Jesus Christ our Savior. Please fill out the yellow slip inside your bulletin and place it in the offering plate. Please write down your prayer requests so we can include them in our weekly prayers.
We want you to feel comfortable during this service. In the Lutheran church, we follow a certain established routine, or liturgy, because this is the closest approximation to how early Christians worshipped in the time of Jesus. We want you to enjoy it, participate, and get inspired. So, if at any time you get lost, please do not hesitate to ask someone for help. Any member of St. James will be glad to help you get back on track; indeed we will be honored to assist you.
Facing and Honoring the Cross: The Cross is our constant reminder that Christ died for remission of all our sins. When the Cross is carried to or from the altar, we may face toward it as it approaches and turn to keep facing it as it passes. Also, as the ministers and other participants in the service approach the Cross at the altar, they bow slightly. All of this marks our respect for Jesus’ ultimate sacrifice and triumph over death.
Order of Service: The bulletin refers to LBW and WOV. What are these?
LBW is the green Lutheran Book of Worship in the pew rack. It contains:
1. The order of service (or Setting) in the front part of the book. The bulletin gives the page numbers (small, at the bottom of each page) for each part of the service.
2. Hymns that are sung. They are after the Settings and Psalms and are numbered at the top of the pages.
3. Psalms that are sung. They are located between the Settings and the Hymns. The bulletin gives the page number (small, bottom of page) for the Psalm to be sung for the day. Psalms are sung responsively, with a soloist singing one verse and the congregation the next.
WOV is a dark blue book entitled With One Voice. Sometimes we sing hymns from this book, and the hymn numbers are large and at the top of the page.
Kneeling: During Confession and the Prayer for the day, we kneel just like Jesus did when he prayed. If you have a physical disability that prevents your kneeling, or if you just feel uncomfortable kneeling, it is permissible to remain seated. What is most important is that you pray with all your heart and soul.
Sharing the Peace: Prior to Communion, we share the Peace of God with each other as fellow Christians. During this time, we greet those nearby by shaking their hands and uttering the words “The Peace of the Lord be with you,” or, more simply, “God’s Peace.”
Holy Communion: We take Holy Communion at the altar rail. Any person who has been baptized in any Christian faith or denomination is welcome to take communion. We all kneel at the altar rail, but if you cannot kneel due to a disability, you may certainly stand at the rail to receive communion. Children who have been baptized, are in 5th grade or higher, and have taken a First Communion class are also welcome to take communion. Even those children of younger age (baptized or not) are welcome to come forward with their parents, and the Pastor giving Communion will bless them instead. Children receiving a blessing are to come to the altar rail without a cup and kneel with hands folded.
NOTE: If you cannot come to the altar because of a physical condition, please stand as the minister is finishing giving communion to those at the altar rail. The minister and an assistant will be pleased to come to you and serve you communion where you stand.
SPECIAL SERVICES (Funerals, Weddings, Lenten Services, etc.): The order of worship will be different but the bulletin will define what we will do. Please follow along and participate using LBW or WOV as indicated.
IN CLOSING: We hope and pray that you find our worship inspiring, just as the early Christians did. We are also glad that you chose to visit us this day. You may not realize it, but the reason that you came to worship here today is because God wanted you here, and we rejoice that you heard His call, whether it was loud and clear, or just faint. We have an amazingly diverse and talented congregation that is always looking to spread the Good News and welcome new members into the Body of Christ. If you would like to learn more about becoming a Christian, our worship service, or our church in general, please feel free to mention this to any member or one of the pastors as you leave the service. Or if you prefer, you may designate this desire on the yellow slip that you put in the offering plate. Finally, you may certainly drop in or call the church office (773-2260) during the week and speak with one of the pastors about it. We would welcome your call at any time.
Sword and Shell Symbol: The sword and shell symbolize St. James, who was the first apostle martyred. Herod Agrippa had James killed by the sword in Jerusalem (Acts 12:2). The shell historically has been a symbol of baptism and in the Middle Ages was an item worn by pilgrims going to Santiago de Compostela, Spain, where there is a shrine to St. James.