The words of the invocation are, "In the Name of the Father, and the Son and the Holy Spirit". These were spoken over you when you were baptized. Our worship services officially begin when you hear these words. Our worship services begin by reminding us that we are baptized children of God. We begin with the reminder of how God views each and everyone of us- with grace.
Together, we confess our sins. We are all equal in God's eyes. We are all sinners. The architect, the student, the doctor, the fast food worker, and the pastor- everyone who gathers are all sinful. The word 'confess' means to say back to God what He has said about us.
Immediatly following the confession, we hear the reminder that our sins are forgiven. The words of absolution, point us to the work of Jesus on the cross and the empty grave. We are saved because He shed His blood for us.
We preach the Gospel, which means 'Law and Gospel'. The Law, points out our sin and shows us we need a Savior. The Gospel, shows us who that Savior is, Jesus, and how we are saved, through His death and Resurrection.
To preach just the law leads us to works righteousness (the idea that we can can save ourselves). It also leads us to despair since we have no way to save ourselves. To preach just the gospel leads people to believe they can live however they want to live. To preach just the gospel doesn't show why we need Jesus. AND WE ALL NEED JESUS!
When you hear us say that you should hear the Gospel preached, we are saying you should hear the Law and Gospel in every sermon.
We use two creeds, The Apostle's Creed and the Nicene Creed. Generally, we use the Nicene Creed on communion Sundays (first, third and fourth Sunday of the month). And we use the Apostle's Creed on non-communion Sundays (second and fourth Sundays).
Both of these creeds have been used by Christians since 325 BC. They are Trinitarian in that they point us to the Trinity of God. There are three sections of the creeds, the fist section talks about God the Father, the second section talks about God the Son, Jesus Christ, and the third section talks about God the Holy Spirit.
One part of the creeds that does confuse some people is when they see the word 'catholic'. This word means 'universal'. The word with a captial C (Catholic) refers to the Roman Catholic Church.
This is a blessing, spoken towards the end of the worship service. Most often, we use the Aaronic blessing from Numbers 6:23-27. In the blessing, we are pointing to the fact that God shines His face on us. This means His favor and protection for us.