Invocation (p. 15)
The word “invocation” comes from the Latin invocatio, “a calling upon.” The Pastor speaks the words, “In the Name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit” facing the altar because it is an address to God. (This is called the “sacrificial” position because the direction is from us to God.) In this short prayer, the Pastor leads the congregation in confessing that we believe in a God who is, in that great mystery, three persons and one God at the same time. We also confess formally that we believe God is present, “we place ourselves in that Presence, and invoke the Divine blessing upon the service which is to follow” (Reed, 241). We speak back to God His promise to be wherever “two or three” are gathered in His Name, and call Him to witness that we are indeed gathered in His Name alone. In that Name, we “offer all our prayer, praise, and thanksgiving” (John 16:23) (Reed, 241).
These words inevitably remind the Christian that this same Name was placed upon him or her in Holy Baptism. Because of this, you may wish to make the sign of Jesus’ Cross over yourself. This motion is a reminder that God graciously welcomed you into His family when you were baptized into the death of Jesus on the cross and His resurrection (Romans 6:3-4).