By Scott Moran
Liturgy: a fixed set of ceremonies, words, etc., that are used during public worship
You may have never noticed this aspect in our Sunday Gathering, which is exactly why we wanted to write about it in the blog. Instead of liturgy, I like to refer to it is a "gospel flow". We desire for each person that joins us on Sunday to experience the full spectrum of the gospel--God is Holy, we are sinners, Jesus saves us from our sins.
Of course, each week we have a different set of songs, different scripture reading, different message, but we are ultimately holding up the beauty of the Gospel every Sunday. It may seem like overkill to plan every service around the gospel, but it makes sense when we think about the human heart. Our default setting is to forget. It's not something we can change about us. If we do not constantly remind ourselves of the gospel, we will forget it. This is not something new to humans; we have been forgetting God's promises and God's workings in our life since the beginning. Pull up the Bible App on your phone right now and search the word "forgot." You will lose all hope in humanity. I will highlight one of the verses for you:
"They forgot his works and the wonders that He had shown them" Psalm 78:11
Forgetfulness leads to doubt. When we do not remind ourselves of the goodness of God and His gospel, we will doubt. Just look at the disciples after Jesus rose from the dead recorded Matthew 28. Jesus meets them on a mountain in Galilee and it says "when they saw Him they worshipped him, but some doubted." If some of the disciples can physically see Jesus and doubt, what does that say about our situation? We are so prone to forget the Jesus that saves us.
So at New Circle, we recognize this. We understand following God is not an easy task, and there are a lot of bumps in the road, a lot of distractions on the way of faith. And this is why we do what we do. We aim to share the beauty of the gospel every week in our Sunday Gathering.
We start each week off with a song to welcome into the worship space, and then we have a time labeled "A Call to Worship". We invite all people to put away the distractions of the world and set their gaze upon God. We then have a song that sings of the greatness, goodness, holiness, power, and wonder of our God. We attempt to focus the beginning of each Sunday Gathering upon the absolute beauty of God. Some may call this "adoration".
We then move into a more reflective state of worship. After recognizing the holiness of God, we look to ourselves, our world, our community, our neighborhood and see the misery of sin. We sing about how we have fallen short and we have once again not lived out the life of holiness God commands us to live. This is corporate lament. We struggle together, we recognize our sin together, and we cry out to God together. This can also be called a time of "confession".
Finally, we sing of Jesus' death and resurrection. After confessing our sin together, and humbling ourselves before God and each other, we celebrate the new life we have in Jesus. We are no longer considered slaves, but sons and daughters! We are new creations in Christ! Jesus has forgiven us, and has remained faithful to us. This hopeful time of worship an also be called "assurance".
Each week, my goal is to lead us through a time of corporate adoration, confession and assurance. The beauty of the gospel can only be told when walk through each chapter. We do not realize how ugly our sin is, until we reflect upon the absolute beauty of God. And we cannot truly celebrate the resurrection of Christ without seeing the total depravity we faced in our sin.
My hope is that you will see this "gospel flow" this week and be changed. You will see the story of God being told every week and remember who you are in Christ.
Have a story to tell? Have insight to give?
Talk to firstname.lastname@example.org!