What to Expect at Worship
Note: The way we receive Holy Communion is different now because of the on-going pandemic. Please see the bottom paragraph.
Markham Lutheran uses a liturgy based on ancient patterns and rituals: a feast for mind, body and soul. It is ecumenical yet distinctively Lutheran.
Our services are multisensory. We experience God’s presence through the bodily senses and all that it means to be human. We delight in God’s beauty through seeing symbols such as cross and candles and the colors in the windows above the altar, banners, paraments and flowers; tasting bread and wine; smelling flowers and sometimes incense; hearing scripture, music and silence; clasping hands as we share the peace; and using our bodies to cross ourselves, kneel, stand, sit, bow and process.
Our liturgies are also contemplative. In the midst of busy urban life and near-constant connection to cell phones and computers, we treasure some time away to gather in sacred space for silence and reflection.
Our worship is user-friendly. Our service most resembles a Roman Catholic mass or an Episcopal liturgy. Whatever your background, our service bulletin tells you exactly what's going on so you can participate at whatever level you are comfortable.
Homilies expand on the readings for the day, usually focusing on the gospel, and its relevance to contemporary lives, issues and struggles. They show how ancient texts have meaning for today.
Our services use organ, keyboard and, occasionally, guitar, and rhythm instruments. Most often we sing traditional hymns--supplemented with other styles, particularly when they reflect the scriptures and themes for a given Sunday.
Each Sunday, worship in Word and Sacrament is at 10:15 am (9:00 am from Memorial Day weekend through Labor Day weekend). Wednesday evening services are offered at 7:00 pm during Advent, Lent and other special times in the Church Year. Holy Communion is celebrated every Sunday and at other worship services.
We’re formal and informal. Our liturgy involves robes and processions. There is a sense of tradition blended with warmth and openness to contemporary life. A few folks dress up a little, especially at Christmas and Easter, but most of us dress casually, some in jeans, so you wear what makes you comfortable. Got tattoos and piercings? A few of us do, too. When we say, "Come as you are," we really mean it; you'll fit right in!
As mentioned above, Holy Communion is celebrated every Sunday. Lutherans believe in the Real Presence-i.e., that the bread and wine are also the Body and Blood of Christ. We take communion in both kinds; that is, both the bread and the wine. Many people drink from a common cup (chalice), which illustrates our oneness as the Body of Christ; others prefer to take one of the individual cups, but the wine and non-alcoholic wine in them is consecrated along with the wine in the flagon and cup. All are welcome at the Lord’s Table without exception, including children.
- A blessing is provided for infants and children who have not already celebrated their First Communion, or for anyone, child or adult, who has not yet been baptized, or who prefers that option. If you wish to receive a blessing, simply cross your arms over your chest.
- Please make sure that any children in your care understand what to do so Pastor will know whether to commune or bless them (he may ask anyway; we don't want anyone to be left out, or to feel stressed).
- If you or your child need a gluten free wafer, let Pastor know. If you prefer the non-alcoholic wine option in an individual cup, let the Communion Assistant know.
- If it is difficult for you to come up to commune, Pastor will gladly bring the elements to you. Just let an usher know, and also tell him/her/them if you prefer an individual cup or would like a gluten free wafer and/or non-alcoholic wine.
- If you prefer to stand at the altar rail, that is perfectly fine.
- For those unable to consume either wine or bread, rest assured that Communion is received fully in either element alone.
Because of the continuing pandemic, we now go forward to select from the pre-packaged elements on offer (sacramental wine with wafer; non-alcoholic sacramental wine with wafer; sacramental wine with gluten free bread), take it back to our seats, and then partake together when Pastor says, "Take and eat, this is the body of Christ for you" and "Take and drink, this is the blood of Christ shed for you."