Worship occurs at least on Sundays and during the Seasons of Advent and Lent also happens mid-week, usually on Wednesdays. Other special worship events also occur throughout the year, such as the “Blessing of the Animals”. Worship has commonly been central to the Lutheran understanding of “church” wherein scripture readings are offered, preaching occurs and the sacraments of Baptism and Holy Communion (the Holy Eucharist) are shared.
As a community, it values the “western rite” of worship practiced by people of God in the western world for nearly 18 centuries. It has four parts. 1) Gathering is when we profess that the Holy Spirit calls us together as People of God; 2) Word is when we profess that God speaks to us in scripture reading, preaching and song; 3) Meal is when we profess that God feeds us with the unmerited gift of God’s presence in Christ; and 4) Sending is when we profess that God blesses us and sends us to be Christ’s hands, ears, eyes and voice in the world.
The western rite is full of mystery and allows for much diversity. 60 to 90 people usually worship at 10AM on Sunday mornings. At the moment, the diversity of worship is known as either “formal” organ supported or “informal” piano supported.
The formal embraces the 16th century architecture and is the style of worship used about half of the Sunday morning worship services. For major festivals, Christmas Eve, Easter and Pentecost, the formal service includes processions and additional classical instruments and about 200 people worship.
The informal focuses less on the architecture. The worship service is done on the Nave floor and the worship leaders do not vest (do not put on fancy gowns).
Grace, as one congregation of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, chooses to use the common lectionary. The lectionary is a collection of scripture readings crafted by many scholars within the larger church. The reading will often be the same most Sundays in Lutheran, Episcopalian, Roman Catholic and other so-called “Liturgical” communions/churches. The readings reinforce the meta story of God’s love affair with humanity. That story is repeated each year, beginning December 1. The story is told through the seasons of the people of God – Advent, Christmas, Epiphany, Lent, Holy Week/the Triduum, Easter, Pentecost and the Time of the Church.