WORSHIP at CPC
We worship on Sunday morning. Worship is not just a time to hear a sermon. It is a time to encounter the living, triune God, who dwells in our midst. Different churches have different styles of worship, but Jesus calls us to look deeper than style. In John 4:24, Jesus said, “God is spirit, and his worshipers must worship in the Spirit and in truth.” This means that first, worship must come from our hearts, through the Holy Spirit. We cannot just honor God with our lips, but our hearts be far from him.
WORSHIP ORDER. Worship has a form: it is based on the truth of God’s word, and it has a particular flow. In scripture, the elements of worship are: the Word of God (read and preached), singing, prayer, and the sacraments (the Lord’s Table and baptism). We use the four-fold pattern that goes back hundreds of years: Gathering, the Word, the Table, Sending. We come in from the world and gather in the presence of God. We hear his word. We respond to him at his table. We are sent out into the world to serve him, filled with Christ and his Spirit.
CREEDS & CONFESSIONS. In our worship, we want to connect to the history of the church, and so we use creeds, confessions, and hymns that have been important in church history. We use the Apostle's Creed or the Nicene Creed, both of which were formulated very early in the history of the Church. We also use the Westminster Confession of Faith, the Heidelberg Catechism, or another of the church's great confessions.
The whole worship service is structured as a conversation between God and his people. God calls us to worship, we respond in praise and prayer. God calls us to confess our sins, we do, and he assures us of the forgiveness of sins. We hear his word, and we respond at his Table in faith and repentance. God speaks last in the word of blessing—the benediction.
THE WORD. The Word of God is a central part of our worship. In addition to a sermon, we have several readings of God’s word before the sermon: from the Psalms, from the Old Testament, from the Gospels, and from the rest of the New Testament. All scripture points to Jesus, therefore we must hear it all.
We often use written prayers so that we can pray together more easily. The Bible is filled with written prayers God's people use to respond to him. Think of the Psalms, the Lord's prayer, or the prayers in Revelation. We also avoid performance in our worship, and we do not use excessive amounts of media. We do have exuberant singing, but we also have times of quiet reflection, so you can put aside distraction and reflect solely on God and the gospel in faith and repentance.
THE TABLE. We come to the Lord’s Table weekly. Jesus instituted this meal for the spiritual nourishment of His people. In the supper, we remember His death for us on the cross, we anticipate his return, and we also abide in him who is spiritually present with us as we receive the bread and the cup. The Supper is a time of repentance, faith, thankfulness, reassurance and hope for us. We invite anyone who through faith and baptism has been incorporated into Christ and his church to partake of the Table with us.
Although not every church comes to the Lord’s Table weekly, we believe it is important that we do. This is how many churches have celebrated the Supper throughout the centuries. And it keeps worship from just being about “listening to a sermon and going home.” The sermon lands at the table each week. Why? Because we do not just preach words of inspiration to “get you through your week.” Rather, we preach things that are utterly impossible for us to do. Then, we respond at the Table, and commune with Christ, the one who alone enables us to obey what we have heard as we live in union with him.