You may notice that although Lutheran worship is never the same every week, it typically follows a particular pattern. This ancient pattern has four parts: Gathering, Word, Meal, and Sending. It’s called the Ordo, a Latin word meaning “order.” Within each part there is great freedom…next time we’re in church you can pull out a hymnal and notice all the “may” pieces written in red. Confession and Forgiveness may begin the service; one or more hymns may be sung; an offering prayer may be said, etc.
There are a lot of options in the worship…but one piece of worship that is not optional is that worship is participatory. It is not something just one pastor or a few worship leaders do. The word “liturgy” means the “work of the people.” Worship is active. (A few years ago at a youth gathering I saw a tee-shirt with “Lutheran Aerobics” in large letters at the top followed by clip art of the things we do in Lutheran worship: sit, stand, kneel, pray.)
With many of you, I have been missing one key part of worship during this pandemic – the meal. I am pleased to say that beginning on Maundy Thursday (April 1), continuing on Easter Sunday and the Sundays following, we will be offering the meal during our online Zoom worship as well as in the outdoor services we will have starting with Easter sunrise and hopefully regularly beginning in May. (Please read my article about how we came to this decision and how you might prepare.)
For the online services, our home tables will be our altars and we will prepare our tables with bread (or crackers) and wine or grape juice and trust that the Word of God in Christ extends throughout our community online. “Gathered around our tables, we are gathered around the one table,” as our Presiding Bishop Eaton said. (Living Lutheran, 6/2019) In the meal, “we are fed and forgiven, reconciled and released, crucified and raised.”
Sit. Stand. Kneel. Pray….and Eat.