"The way we worship affects the way we believe.  Or to put it another way, practice teaches doctrine." - Rev. Klemet Preus, "The Fire and the Staff".

In ancient times, it was well-understood that worship was a direct reflection of the faith, and faith was fundamentally influenced by worship.  But since the age of postmodernism this truism has been largely forgotten.

Where once worship was about God and His gifts, today worship is about "me" and what "I" want.  We judge faith, not by a theology of worship, but by how good or bad we feel after a worship service.  We judge growth, not by relying on the Word of the Lord to fill us, but on what we "get out of" the worship service.

The facets of postmodernism are clear: a distrust toward established norms; a rebellion against tradition; a fascination of the inward self, the heart, the emotion center.  And the worship practices of the church have suffered greatly as a result.

Today, if a church doesn't offer entertaining venues or opportunities, the church is considered 'dead' or 'unspiritual'.  Spiritualism -- the notions of how spiritual or filled with the Holy Spirit one is -- is judged (and I don't chose this word lightly) by how 'excited' or 'exuberant' a person's worship.

Strong and clear proclamation of the Word of God is substituted by emotionally-driven music where Jesus and His salvation takes a back-door to how a person feels ABOUT Jesus.  Liturgy is considered anathema and 'hymns' are considered for the old and dying.  And sermons which were once about proclaiming the Law and the Gospel have become 40-minute pep talks where the speaker offers nothing but law-filled advice mixed with cool cliches. 

Well, if what Rev. Preus wrote is correct -- and by the way, Preus did not make this up but pulled this idea from an ancient text written by Prosper of Aquitaine, an early church father -- then our way of worship is both a consequence of what we believe and a driver of what we believe.  This is important!  Our liturgy, hymns, formats, the aesthetics, the colors -- all of it reflects what we believe as Christians because it informs what we believe as Christians!  Get it?

Worship must teach the faith and teach it rightly and consistently or it isn't worship.  We must rightly believe and trust the Word of the Lord or we cannot rightly worship. 

Therefore at St. Paul's, we continue to adhere to liturgies and practices which boldly proclaim the faith as taught us in Holy Scripture.  We proclaim worship as a gift from God where He comes to us in Word and Sacrament to strengthen our faith, forgive our sins, and instruct us in all righteousness and holy living.  We sing the ancient hymns of the Church along with new hymns which rightly confess the faith.  And most importantly, we don't seek to 'entertain' but we seek to teach, preach, and forgive.

If you are tired of the postmodern, feel-good, pandering worship of today and desire to have your faith strengthened with strong, Scriptural preaching, the assurance of your sins forgiven, and with liturgy and hymns of old and new, then it's time to be edified! 

We gather before Word and Sacrament every Sunday at 9:00 am.  We also have special Advent, Lent, and other services throughout the year in accordance with the Church Calendar.  You may also come by during the week to speak to the Pastor; we are always here to listen, to pray, and to explain.