What is Lord's Day Worship all about?
It seems like such an easy question... but... well... it really isn't easy, is it?
All Souls Church is part of the Reformed Tradition of Christianity. Among other things this means that we understand Lord's Day worship to be a joyful time of covenant renewal between the Triune God of the Bible and His people, the Church.
It is because of this the elements of our worship services tend to include a hand-full of very basic, yet very specific elements – things like, prayer, songs of praise, the pubic reading of scripture, biblical preaching, and the administration of baptism and the Lord's Supper. But in addition to these things there is one other, very important element that you will witness if you visit with us at All Souls Church. What is it? It is a prayer of repentance or, as it is sometimes called, “a corporate confession of sin.”
At All Souls, we understand the corporate confession of sin to be a very important part of every worship service. Let me offer a three reasons why:
When God’s people come together and offer a heartfelt confession of sin their worship and praise becomes much more authentic. Genuine confession humbles us before God. It strikes a blow against self-righteousness. It forces us to fix our eyes on our gracious Lord, who alone can save.... and our response is an outpouring of gratitude.
When God’s people come together and offer a heartfelt confession of sin it is a beautiful reminder that all Christians are "Indians in the same canoe” so to speak. Whether a person is the most mature believer in the room to the newest convert in the room, corporate confession is a powerful reminder that we are all on the same level and all equally dependent upon the grace of God. It is His grace, and His grace alone that makes us what we are
When God’s people come together and offer a heartfelt confession of sin it is a powerful declaration of God’s faithfulness to His people. Genuine confession of sin does not in anyway excuse or condone sinful behavior, nor does it downplay the seriousness of sin. It is instead a humbling reminder that God does not treat us as our sins deserve but for Christ’s sake He remembers His covenant of grace and remains faithful to preserve His people – the Church.
No, we don’t confess our sin to dwell on ourselves. Nor do we publicly confess our sin so as to make church-goers feel gloomy and defeated. And again, no, we don’t confess our sins merely as a dead ritualistic element in our stuffy, Sunday morning routine. But here’s why we do confess our sins together – to declare God’s faithfulness to His people and to remind ourselves that our God delights in forgiving the repentant.
We believe that the corporate confession of sin reminds sinners of a very wonderful truth – that if, by grace through faith, I am looking to Christ for my salvation, I can be assured, based upon the sure promise of God’s Word, that my sins are forgiven.