All Christian worship follows some sort of structure. In the Anglican tradition, our structure is more formal. The prayers we pray are the same prayers we’ve been praying for hundreds of years. We believe that the rhythm of our worship is important because allows us to be formed and shaped into disciples of Jesus. What we pray, and sing, and read, and say matters because all of those things shape the kinds of people we are becoming.
A typical Sunday service has 4 parts: Penitence, Praise, Proclamation, and Prayer –
We begin with Penitence. We recognize our sinfulness. We acknowledge our own brokenness, and the ways we’ve inflicted brokenness on others. We ask God for the grace to turn away from our sin. we hear God’s forgiveness proclaimed, and receive the promise of His healing Spirit.
Then, in the Holy Spirit, we Praise God for all the gifts we’ve received. We praise Him with hymns modern and ancient. We praise Him with prayers and thanksgiving. We praise Him with Psalms, and hymns, and spiritual songs.
And then we listen to His Word Proclaimed. We hear the promises of God to God’s people from the Old Testament, from the Psalms, and from the Epistles. Then we stand to Hear the story of our salvation told by the Gospels. We pause to study and reflect on what we read and what we’ve heard. And then we declare our faith through the Words of the Nicene Creed.
Our service concludes with Prayer. We lift up our needs, and the needs of our neighbors. We ask God’s blessing over every part of our life. We gather our gifts and offerings to bring to the Lord, and then we give thanks for all His grace and mercy. This extended time of thanksgiving occurs at the Lord’s Table, where we pray for Christ to reveal his power in our community. We then receive God’s blessing as we go out into the world to proclaim God’s Kingdom.
Most of us at St. Aidan’s come from different religious backgrounds. We’ve come to see that this way of worship is powerful and life-changing. It will be different at first – it was for all of us – but it’s worth the time it takes to learn these new rhythms of worship. Here the Faith is deeply-rooted and timelessly relevant.