Churches have different ways of making clear that a service is about to start. Ordinary greetings such as 'Good Morning' or 'Welcome' make people feel comfortable and link what we do with everyday human encounters. But biblically-based prayers (such as 1.1 - 1.2), or reminders of our purpose in meeting together (such as 1.4 - 1.7), focus our attention on God and what we might expect from him. God has called us together and we should acknowledge that from the beginning, in the way we speak to him or speak about him. A well-chosen hymn or song may also fulfil some of these introductory functions.

Introductions 1.4 and 1.5 can be extended to give a seasonal or thematic emphasis, or lead straight to an invitation to confess sins (see section 4). There may be special events in the life of the congregation to be noted. But, above all, it is important to focus attention on God and the prospect of listening to his word and responding with prayer and praise. We have not come together merely to have fellowship with one another or to encourage one another, but to meet with God.

 

1.1 The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ,
the love of God,
and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit
be with you
and also with you.
Cf. 2 Corinthians 13:14
1.2 Grace, mercy and peace,
from God our Father
and the Lord Jesus Christ,
be with you
and also with you.
Cf. 1 Timothy 1:2
1.3 (In the Easter season)
Christ is risen!
He is risen indeed. Alleluia!

1.4 (Friends in Christ)
We have come together to meet with God,
to express our fellowship in the Lord Jesus,
and to take our part in the building of his church.
We will praise and thank him for his
goodness towards us,
hear from his holy word,
and pray for the world, and for ourselves.
(Especially today . . .)
Experimental Sunday Services (modified)
1.5 We have come together in the name of Christ,
to offer our praise and thanksgiving,
to hear and receive God's holy word,
to pray for the needs of the world,
and to seek the forgiveness of our sins,
that by the power of the Holy Spirit
we may give ourselves to the service of God.
(Especially today . . .)
Common Worship
1.6 We meet in the presence of God,
who knows our needs,
hears our cries,
feels our pain,
and heals our wounds.
Common Worship
1.7 Since we believe that Jesus our Saviour
has ascended into heaven,
and opened the way into God's presence for us.
let us draw near with a sincere heart
in full assurance of faith;
let us hold fast to the hope we profess;
and let us consider how we may spur one another on
to love and good deeds.
Cf. Hebrews 10:19-25

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