Liturgy for Home Worship: 3/15/2020
In Hebrews 10:24-25, the writer encourages his readers with these words:
“And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near.” (Hebrews 10:24–25, ESV)
Corporate worship is a time to let the Word of Christ dwell in us richly through teaching, admonishment, singing, and thanksgiving. As the writer of Hebrews says, this is not optional for believers; it is a command meant for our good and the kingdom’s growth.
In this strange time, we lament the fact that prudence keeps us from gathering. Through tears, we willingly make this sacrifice out of love for our own and the communities around us. But that doesn’t mean we can’t worship. Though absent from one another in the body, we are together in spirit and heart (1 Cor 5:3; Col 2:5; 1 Thess 2:17). And, thanks to the gifts of God’s grace that we enjoy in the form of technology, we can continue to gather in an imperfect yet meaningful way.
To help us do that, we’ve crafted this simple liturgy for you to follow in your homes with your families, neighbors, and/or small groups. We encourage you to gather in wisdom, taking care to avoid these gatherings if you’re not feeling well or are especially vulnerable to COVID-19.
We know there are plenty of options for “online church” out there, and we understand why you would be inclined to simply tune in to one of those services. But we’re asking that everyone in our church would commit to following the pattern laid out here, if not in its entirety, at least in its overall flow—especially the video sermon.
Though we can’t be together, we can all share this experience together.
What’s a Liturgy?
A liturgy, at its most basic level, is an ordered approach into God’s presence. Christians throughout history have used liturgy—from the elaborate service of a Catholic Mass to the simple service of a Chinese house church. You may be surprised to learn that our church uses a liturgy, too. We just call it an “order of service” and we slightly alter it every week. You can find it printed on the front of your bulletins.
The following is an adapted version of what we’d use in our normal Sunday gatherings. It includes written prayers, songs, an opportunity to give, and a link to a recording of today’s sermon. We encourage you to treat this liturgy as a servant, not a master. If there are prayers, readings, and songs you’d like to add in your own worship, then please feel free to do so. As written, this liturgy should run about 45 minutes.
If you’re gathered in a small group, you may want to appoint a leader to guide you through the liturgy: reading or offering prayers, leading in song, etc. For many of us, this will seem awkward. Lean into the discomfort; this is a unique time for us all, and we trust the Lord will use it to stretch and grow us all in ways we never could’ve imagined.
Liturgy for Home Worship 3/15/20: Perfect Love Casts Out Fear
Our God and Father, you have made us for yourself, and our hearts are restless until they find their rest in you. Though we are parted in terms of bodily presence this morning, we thank you that we still enjoy a command bond in Christ and by the Holy Spirit. Come and inhabit our praises, now, we pray. Amen.
Call to Worship
Psalm 95:1–3 (NIV)
1 Come, let us sing for joy to the LORD;
let us shout aloud to the Rock of our salvation.
2 Let us come before him with thanksgiving
and extol him with music and song.
3 For the LORD is the great God,
the great King above all gods.
Song of Comfort and Assurance
Old Testament Reading
Isaiah 43:1–3 (NIV)
43 But now, this is what the LORD says—
he who created you, Jacob,
he who formed you, Israel:
“Do not fear, for I have redeemed you;
I have summoned you by name; you are mine.
2 When you pass through the waters,
I will be with you;
and when you pass through the rivers,
they will not sweep over you.
When you walk through the fire,
you will not be burned;
the flames will not set you ablaze.
3 For I am the LORD your God,
the Holy One of Israel, your Savior.
2 Corinthians 8:8–9 (NIV)
8 I am not commanding you, but I want to test the sincerity of your love by comparing it with the earnestness of others. 9 For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though he was rich, yet for your sake he became poor, so that you through his poverty might become rich.
“Jesus Paid it All”
During this time, it’s more important than ever that we continue to embody our trust in the Lord’s provision through faithful, sacrificial giving. Please visit http://evcl.org/give/ and make your offering as a family as an intentional act of faith.
If you’re in a mixed group, encourage participants to make their offerings privately. Although online giving is preferred during this time, you may also write and mail your checks to:
Village Church of Lincolnshire
201 Riverwoods Rd
Lake Forest, IL 60045
Father, we take stock of what you have done for us in Christ. We thank you that we can come before you not as foreigners and exiles, but as sons and daughters. We find deep comfort for our souls in the fact that you have secured for us an eternal inheritance by the blood of your precious Son. We lean upon you in these troubling times.
- For those across the world who have been afflicted by this virus, Lord, hear our prayer.
- For the governments you have appointed to oversee these things, Lord, hear our prayer.
- For the churches you’ve placed on the front lines of this pandemic, Lord, hear our prayer.
- For our own church in this time of disruption, Lord, hear our prayer.
- For the leaders you’ve called to shepherd this flock, Lord, hear our prayer.
- For the most vulnerable among us, Lord, hear our prayer.
- For the neighbors around us, Lord, hear our prayer.
- For our ability to testify to the peace we know in You, Lord, hear our prayer.
- For eyes to see and hands to serve our brothers, sisters, and neighbors, Lord, hear our prayer.
- For the words we are about to hear and the work of your Spirit upon our hearts and minds, Lord, hear our prayer.
If you’re gathered in a group, this would be a good time to pray together for specific needs and concerns that touch the folks in the room. You can either spend a few minutes sharing requests and then praying, or you can launch straight into a few minutes of group prayer.
New Testament Reading
1 John 4:13–21 (NIV)
13 This is how we know that we live in him and he in us: He has given us of his Spirit. 14 And we have seen and testify that the Father has sent his Son to be the Savior of the world. 15 If anyone acknowledges that Jesus is the Son of God, God lives in them and they in God. 16 And so we know and rely on the love God has for us.
God is love. Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in them. 17 This is how love is made complete among us so that we will have confidence on the day of judgment: In this world we are like Jesus. 18 There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love.
19 We love because he first loved us. 20 Whoever claims to love God yet hates a brother or sister is a liar. For whoever does not love their brother and sister, whom they have seen, cannot love God, whom they have not seen. 21 And he has given us this command: Anyone who loves God must also love their brother and sister.
Sermon: “Perfect Loves Casts Out Fear”
Song of Response and Assurance
“A Mighty Fortress is Our God”
Link: Chris Rice, “A Mighty Fortress Is Our God”
Father, we know that your perfect love casts out fear. May we be strengthened by our faith in Christ and emboldened by the Spirit to bear witness to the only hope this world has ever known. Lord, give us courage to move towards suffering and not away from it. Give us the wisdom to know how best to serve the people around us. Most of all, give us faith in these troubling times, through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
Numbers 6:24–26 (NIV)
24 “ ‘ “The LORD bless you
and keep you;
25 the LORD make his face shine on you
and be gracious to you;
26 the LORD turn his face toward you
and give you peace.” ’