The worship at Anglican Church of the Good Shepherd is founded on three principles: evangelical preaching, sacramental faith, and liturgical worship.
What does evangelical preaching mean?
In 1 Peter 1:10-12 St. Peter tells us that the prophets of the Old Testament were inspired and guided by the Holy Spirit to proclaim salvation that would be manifest in Jesus Christ. The word “evangelical” comes from the Greek word “euangelion” which means “good news” or “gospel.” The preaching and teaching at Good Shepherd is centered around the gospel, which is the promise of forgiveness of sins found in Jesus Christ alone that is offered to you. Our preaching and teaching emphasizes and returns to the good news found in Jesus Christ.
What does sacramental faith mean?
“Sacramental” comes from the word “sacrament.” The two sacraments instituted by Jesus Christ are Baptism and the Lord’s Supper (sometimes called Holy Communion or the Eucharist). The sacraments bring us into and nourish us in the Christian faith. The water of Baptism is like a door we walk through to enter into the Christian community. In Romans 6, the Apostle Paul teaches that when we were baptized we were crucified and raised with Jesus Christ. Thus, baptism unites us to Christ as we are made a member of the global Church. Baptism is the beginning of our faith journey.
The Lord’s Supper nourishes us in our faith–it is “spiritual food.” That does not mean it is not real food. Rather, we eat and drink consecrated physical bread and wine to strengthen our spiritual selves. Through Holy Communion we ask God to dwell in us that we may also dwell in Him.
The principal service of Anglican Church of the Good Shepherd is Holy Communion. For nearly 2,000, years Christians have gathered in obedience to their Lord to partake of the one cup and one loaf called His Body and Blood (I Cor. 10:16-17). At Good Shepherd we continue the practice of the early Church by continuing steadfastly in the observance of Holy Communion every Sunday.
What does liturgical worship mean?
The worship of Good Shepherd follows an order or “liturgy” that comes from the Anglican Book of Common Prayer, produced originally in 1549 by the famous English Reformer, Thomas Cranmer. The Book of Common Prayer is scriptural with approximately 80% of its content being taken directly from the Bible.
At the time of the Protestant Reformation there were no set liturgies. Western liturgies were based on the Medieval Latin Mass and locally adapted. While drawing from ancient liturgies, it is the 11th century Sarum Rite (from southern England in Salisbury) that became Cranmer’s guide as he composed his English prayer book. The glory of the Book of Common Prayer is that it took all the rites and ceremonies of the Church and not only bound them into one book but also brought them into the vernacular language for the English people. Thus, the Book of Common Prayer invites us into the historic and scriptural worship of the Church. The Book of Common Prayer is used by the majority of the 70 million member worldwide Anglican Communion. We worship in a truly common prayer tradition.
Vestments are the attire with which ordained clergy clothe themselves for service in the Church. In Exodus 28:2 God commanded Aaron to wear vestments that was befitting for his office. Nothing in the New Testament suggests that vestments ought to be done away with. Jesus himself, who attacked the religious leaders for many things, never attacked them for their vestments.
Practically, the ministers at Good Shepherd wear vestments for two reasons. First, it reflects the holy office into which the minister has been called. Second, it covers the minister up, which a great help for laypeople. When a minister is shrouded with vestments, his personality is also shrouded. This reminds the worshipper that the man who is vested before them is not just “Joe Everyman,” but the minister is standing in an office ordained by God.
Worshipping God using all 5 senses
At Anglican Church of the Good Shepherd we believe that God came to save our whole bodies. Therefore we strive to celebrate the gospel using our whole bodies. We hear the gospel being read from and preached from the pulpit; we taste the gospel in the bread and wine served in Holy Communion; we smell the gospel in the incense, a sweet aroma that ascends into heaven; we see the gospel in the liturgical ornamentation and paraments, reminding us the life of Christ that we imitate year after year; and we touch the gospel, a physical thing proclaimed to us in the way we kneel, bow, and posture our bodies during the worship service.