"Who may ascend the mountain of the Lord?
Who may stand in his holy place?
The one who has clean hands and a pure heart."
~ Psalm 24:3,4
Currently, St Paul worships every Sunday morning at 9:00 am (Summer Monday night worship at 6:30 pm, June - Aug). Holy Communion is offered on the 2nd & 4th Sundays of the month.
What to Expect at Worship...
When you come to church at St Paul don't worry about not fitting in; this isn't a hall of fame for 'holier-than-thou' saints as much as it's a hospital for sinners. We come here fully expecting to meet with God as he comes to us through his Word and sacraments to forgive and renew us. The psalmist asks a good question though: Who is worthy to stand in God's house, his holy place? He mentions people with clean hands and lives free of sin. Sin is self-worship; it's living for ourselves instead of living for him who loved us and gave his life for us. God would be waiting a long time for worshipers if our sin disqualifed us. Sinners that we are, we are unworthy to worship him. Worship begins when God creates joy in our hearts through the message of forvieness and salvation in Christ Jesus, his Son. It's okay if you walk into our church unsure about all this. You might not even think of yourself as a "worshiper" yet. Don't worry, it'll come. Just know for now that you're welcome here. Come ready to listen to God speak to you in his Word. He will clear things up for you.
What should I wear to worship? Where should I sit? Will I fit in? What if my children get noisy? Will I get anything out of worship?
You might have lots of questions. What you wear to worship ought to reflect where you are and what you're doing, but we won't judge anyone for that. We're pretty laid back about that. Plus, we know that what's on the inside matters most. And don't worry about siting in someone's favorite pew or something, either--we're just glad you came! There are handicap-accessible pews as well as a place for parents with small children who need time out. A live-feed of the service can be seen on a monitor downstairs near the restrooms. You be the judge of when you might need to step out, but understand that we like to see and hear children in worship. It's a sign of a growing church. And remember, that even if you think you didn't get much out of worship that day because of the kids, you're still setting a healthy worship pattern for their life. Plus, the Holy Spirit works through the hymns and songs, too, as well as the lessons and sermon. There is private devotion during the week, too, where you will grow. But let's never give up meeting to gether!
What about the style of worship at St Paul? Worship at St Paul emphasizes both the people's need to express their love and praise toward God, and even more, what God has to offer us in Word and sacrament. Each service is designed to emphasize God's action in our midst, as well as our joy-filled response to him! We follow a path of worship that looks like this:
Our entrance into worship ("Introit" = Latin, introare = "to go in" or "to enter") begins with Confession. After an opening hymn we confess ("say the same thing") about our sin and hear forgiveness announced. Rejoicing we sing "Glory to God in the Highest," the same song the angels sang the night of Christ's birth. A prayer of the day follows that many times gives a preview of the focus of the lessons from God's Word that day. Prayer and praise surround the hearing of the lessons, the sermon and the offering of the sacrament of Holy Communion (See more about when the sacrament is offered and who may receive it below). After this, the Offering is gathered. Guests are not exprected to give until you've had the opportunity to understand what we believe in and stand for (our mission). A hymn or two follows and the Lord's Blessing is pronounced over the people. We depart worship with a song on our lips and the peace of God in our hearts.
Finally, what we do in worship together, is meant to be put into practice in our everyday lives. Worship really ecompasses our entire life! The Apostle Paul wrote: "Whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God." (1 Corinthians 10:31) Paul's "whatever" means everything we do ought to be done in God-pleasing ways that show just how much our salvation in Christ means to us. Week in and week out we fall short of the glory of God, and so Sunday in and Sunday out we return here to acknowledge that, receive his forgiveness and be renewed by him to strive again to live for God's glory. Along with the psalmist we say:
"Come, let us bow down in worship,
let us kneel before the Lord our Maker;
for he is our God
and we are the people of his pasture,
the flock under his care."
~ Psalm 95:6,7
Worship time: Sundays, 9 am.
A note about who may receive Holy Communion:
In keeping with the Lord's own instruction in his Word, St Paul practices "Close communion," a practice that acknowledges that religion is more about a relationship God forges in our hearts by his Word, than something we're entitled to, or earn. Before communing together Jesus instructs us to establish a close communion together first by a study of His Word. After a time with our pastor in Bible study, you may be ready to say, "I believe, and am convinced this church is teaching and confessing the truth as God sets it forth in his Word." This unity of faith is something we then express together in the sacrament of Holy Communion. Sadly, different churches today do not all teach and believe the same things, and so we only offer the sacrament to those united with us in faith. We continue to pray for that unity based on all the teachings of Jesus in the Bible.