QUESTIONS ABOUT SUNDAY SERVICES
Of course, we love having our children with us, and we don’t mind noise at all. If you would like, you are welcome to make use of the family room.
The Children’s Focus is a moment in the service when we get them up, give them a short message and generally have our hearts warmed by the blessing of children!
The lit candle on the table is a reminder to us that Jesus Christ is the light of the world.
This is a time in the service where we affirm and encourage one another that we are one family in Jesus. Since we are at peace with God through Jesus, we are also therefore at peace with one another as God’s family.
God sees persons as whole beings: body, mind, and heart, and so Anglican worship deliberately engages the whole person. We spend time engaging our minds and hearts as we listen and pray but we also engage our body when we stand and sit and speak together at various times in the service. When we hear, “The Lord be with you,” we reply, “and also with you.” And when the Gospel is read we stand to listen as a sign of our welcome of the words of Jesus. All of these movements allow us to express many things that words alone cannot convey, and it’s a wonderful thing to do it together.
Christians have always recognised that sin and evil is not far from us, and that it is sin that hinders us from living fully in the life and love of God. Regular times of confession help us to agree with God in those areas where we have drifted/wandered away, and it reminds us that God is faithful to forgive in Jesus. We have great confidence in God’s love for us when we rest in his forgiving grace.
Wearing robes is an ancient practice in the Christian Church. But why I hear you say? Good question. Whether we like it or not all clothing is symbolic and is understood in our culture in different ways. Some people feel comfortable if their minister dresses in a suit while others might feel intimidated. Some people might feel comfortable if their minister dresses in shorts and thongs while others might feel it inappropriate. The robe gets around all this by having a simple ‘unfashionable’ garment that symbolises being common to all and tries to be as least distracting as possible.
The truth is, every church has a liturgy, whether it’s formal or informal – a church’s liturgy simply describes what the church does when it gathers for worship. The real question is which kind of liturgy is most helpful? The vast majority of Christians the world over believe that structured liturgy is most helpful in worship, and we do, too. The Liturgy is steady and transcends the ever-changing realities in our daily lives, and so we can count on it to bring us back to things that are true and constant. The liturgy also teaches us how to pray and connects us with millions of other Christians (from all over the world and throughout time) who have said these same prayers to the same God.
This is a common way of ordering the year according to important Christian truth, for example: Advent (coming of Jesus), Lent (preparation for Easter), Easter, Pentecost (the sending of the Spirit), Trinity Sunday, etc. There are also specific colours associated with each season, which remind us of these great truths. Generally the colours are Purple for Advent (December), White for Christmas following (Jan-Feb), Purple for Lent (March), Red for days in Easter week (April), White for Easter following (April – May) and Green for the remainder of the year. At Living Water these colours are represented in the cloth on the communion table and the panels on either side of the stage.
The word “Advent” is derived from the Latin word adventus, meaning “coming”. The Advent season focuses on expectation and serves as an anticipation and celebration of Christ’s first coming, at his birth, and his future second coming in glory.
Lent refers to the 40 days leading up to Easter. It’s a season that emphasises honest personal reflection and repentance, with a view to preparing oneself for Easter where we embrace all that the death and resurrection of Jesus brings us.
Palm Sunday is the Sunday before Easter which commemorates the entry of Jesus into Jerusalem, when people strewed the way with palm branches and cried “Hosanna”. It is an old custom to decorate the church with palm branches. Hosanna is the Greek phrase meaning, “a song of praise to God to come and save”.
In Jewish history It was originally a harvest festival (Exod 23:16) that took place 50 days after Passover, and in time became a day to also commemorate the giving of the law on Mt. Sinai. This day became especially significant for Christians because, seven weeks after the resurrection of Jesus, during the Jewish celebration of Pentecost, the Holy Spirit was poured out upon his first followers, thus empowering them for their mission and gathering them together as a church.