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How Our Liturgy Connects to the Bible

Christians gather on the Lord’s Day to celebrate the resurrection of Christ. The service is divided into two major parts. The Liturgy of the Word derives from the Jewish synagogue service and is made up of scripture readings, psalms, and prayers. In Luke we have an account of Jesus in the synagogue, reading from the prophet Isaiah (Luke 4:14-21). The Liturgy of the Meal is the sharing of bread and wine in remembrance of Jesus’ death and resurrection. Holy Communion has its roots in Jesus’ Passover meal with his disciples on the night before his death (Matthew 26:26-29). Our experience of worship is similar to the experience of the two disciples on the road to Emmaus. The risen Jesus breaks open the word for us, and then is made known in the breaking of bread (Luke 24:13-25). With Easter faith, we confess that Christ appears to us as the scriptures are read and the eucharist is celebrated. (See also Luke 24:27, 30-31a.) The book of Psalms is central to Christian worship. Most or all of the psalms are usually printed in hymnals. Not only are psalms used as a response following the first reading from scripture, they often form the basis for hymns and other responses. Each Sunday three scripture readings are included in worship. These are appointed in a lectionary, which is a cycle of Bible readings spread over a three-year period and shared by the majority of the world’s Christians.The individual components of the liturgy developed over the centuries, but most of the texts have some kind of origin in the scriptures. The core phrases and images of the liturgy derive from the Bible and provide an important connection to the scriptures. Listed below are direct or indirect biblical references used in the liturgy of Holy Communion.




GATHERING-- Psalm 149:1; Joel 2:15-17; Isaiah 48:14; Matthew 18:20; Acts 2:1-13

Confession and Forgiveness--1 John 1:8-9

Greeting (The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ...)--2 Corinthians 13:13

Kyrie – Lord, have mercy--Luke 17:13

Hymn of Praise: Glory to God--Luke 2:14

Hymn of Praise: This is the Feast--Revelation 5:13

Salutation (The Lord be with you)--Ruth 2:4; Luke 1:28


LITURGY OF THE WORD--Matthew 4:4; John 1:1-5; Colossians 3:16; 1 Timothy 4:13; 2 Timothy 4:1-5

First Reading--Hebrew scriptures (Acts – during Easter)


Second Reading--New Testament epistles

Gospel Acclamation (Lord to whom...)--John 6:68

Gospel Acclamation (Lent: Return to the Lord...)--Deuteronomy 30:2; Numbers 14:18; Joel 2:13

Holy Gospel--The Gospels

The Prayers--1 Timothy 2:1-2


LITURGY OF THE MEAL: John 6:48-50; Acts 2:42

Greeting of Peace Matthew 5:23-24; John 14:27; Romans 16:16

Offertory – Create in Me Psalm 51:10-12

Offertory – What shall I render Psalm 116:10-17

Great Thanksgiving Psalm 136

Holy, Holy, Holy Lord (Sanctus) Isaiah 6:3; Matthew 21:9

Words of Institution 1 Corinthians 11:23-26

Lord’s Prayer Matthew 6:9-13

Lamb of God (Agnus Dei) John 1:29


SENDING: Matthew 28:19; John 20:21

Canticle – Lord, now you let... Luke 2:28-32

Canticle – Thank the Lord Psalm 105:1-3, 42-45

Benediction (The Lord bless you...) Numbers 6:23-26

Dismissal (Go in peace...) Luke 7:50


Other References and Resources for references on the foundations for the Christian assembly from the writings of the early Church and the Lutheran confessions, consider The First Apology of Justin Martyr, Chapter LXVII: Weekly Worship of the Christians (c. 150 A.D.), and the Augsburg Confession, article VII (1530).




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