Ancient and now, our worship follows the contours of the mass which has its roots in the synagogue services of Jesus' time. We begin with prayer and singing. Next, the liturgy -- or worship service -- moves into "The Liturgy of the Word," a time when we hear God's Word as it comes to us in readings from the Hebrew Scriptures; the Epistles, or letters, written to the early church by the apostles; and the Gospel. Next we hear the preached Word of God.
After more singing (Lutherans sing a lot!!), the gathered community prays for the church, the world, and all who are in any need. We then begin the Liturgy of the Eucharist during which all who wish receive the true Body and Blood of Christ -- given and shed for the forgiveness of sin that we ourselves become Christ for the world God loves. The Liturgy of the Eucharist at Saint Paul is ecumenical: the Prayer of Thanksgiving is sometimes from the Lutheran tradition, but may also be adapted from the Episcopal, United Methodist, Presbyterian, or Orthodox traditions. And of course -- more singing. Then we are dismissed to go out into the world to love and serve the neighbor.
The 8 A.M. service (also called the mass or the liturgy) lasts a little over an hour. The 10.30 A.M. liturgy lasts until 11.45, longer for special celebrations. Our building is air-conditioned throughout; energy conservation settings are used so the building may still seem warm to some. Layered clothing is good in any season!
At Saint Paul, you won't have to worry about juggling hymnals or prayer books. The Sunday liturgies are printed in an easy-to-use, comprehensive worship folder. The only things not printed in the worship folder are the readings for the day; if you wish to follow along with the readings, pew Bibles are located in every row.
A word about the readings you will hear in the mass: along with many other Christian traditions we follow the Common Lectionary that sets out specific readings for each week. On any given Sunday, you will hear the same readings as people in Roman Catholic, United Church of Christ, United Methodist, Episcopal, and many other congregations and parishes.
Our hymns often employ the very best work of contemporary hymn writers. These are set to music that helps reinforce the words of the hymn. You will hear music that ranges from Gregorian Chant through J.S. Bach, Schubert, Marty Haugen, to Gospel, Latin American sounds, and other styles. Saint Paul has a full-time Cantor who also serves as an outreach minister who not only coordinates the Saint Paul Music Series but works with our sister congregation, Cristo Rey, in a summer music and arts camp and an after-school program.