The Liturgy in the Local Congregation II

Ringing of the Bell/Organ Prelude/Choral Call to Worship
This is the true beginning of our time of worship. The ringing of the bell indicates that this time is set apart from all other time. This is time made holy by Jesus’ presence “where two or three are gathered in [His] name” (Matthew 18:20). The bell that can be heard outside the church summons people to come and hear God’s Word and praise Him in return. The choir that can be heard inside the church calls those already gathered to pray that the Holy Spirit would prepare their hearts to receive Christ with joy and worship Him in gladness.

Thus, the entire time from the ringing of the bell until the Invocation is a time of prayerful meditation upon the reality of the presence of the Triune God among us. For your personal devotion, you may wish to pray the prayer found on p. 4 of The Lutheran Hymnal, “A Prayer Upon Entering Church”: Almighty, ever-living God, grant that I may gladly hear Thy Word and that all my worship may be acceptable unto Thee; through Jesus Christ, my Lord. Amen.

“Oh come, let us sing to the LORD; let us make a joyful noise to the rock of our salvation! Let us come into his presence with thanksgiving; let us make a joyful noise to him with songs of praise!” Psalm 95:1-2, ESV

Opening Hymn
Until the Introit, we are still in a period of preparation. This first hymn may be selected to reflect the theme of the day or church season or as a prayer requesting the promised presence of God among His people. The final stanza is almost always Trinitarian in form (using the divine Name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit), during which we stand in awe of and respect for our God.

[Timotheos]

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