Gathering under the Word in worship to our Triune God
Each Sunday, the risen Christ gathers his people in local assemblies to sing, to hear, and to speak his Word. We give ourselves each Lord’s Day to the old and ordinary things Christians have been doing since that first Sunday (Acts 2:42). Here are five of them.
SINGING THE WORD
We need biblically rich songs because we need Christ: “Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns, and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God” (Col. 3:16). Songs teach us of God’s manifold glory, and allow us to voice our response to God, from trust in trial to joy in heaven. Our voices together are the sound of Christ’s kingdom in our community. At Heritage, you’ll hear old songs because our faith is old, and new songs because God is at work among us today. You’ll find the words to our songs projected on a screen, and also printed in an order of worship.
PRAYING THE WORD
Whenever we gather, we pray. We pray boldly because of Christ’s sacrifice and his intercession for us (Eph. 3:12; Heb. 7:25). We pray earnestly because we want God to work among us, to unite our church in love, to comfort our widows, to build up our teens, and to do a thousand other things beyond what we could ever ask or imagine for his glory in the church (Eph. 3:20, 21). We pray often because we are needy and he is ever giving. We pray prayers of confession, prayers to receive the Word, and prayers of praise and thanksgiving to God. We pray for our church body, for our community, for our nation and the world.
READING THE WORD
Reading the Bible out loud is important to us, and we’re devoted to it. “Devote yourself to the public reading of Scripture” (1Tim. 4:13). Hearing the Word revives our souls, enlightens our eyes, warns us about sin, and reveals God’s glory (Ps. 19). The Word lasts forever and by it we taste and see that the Lord is good (1Pet. 1:25; 2:3). For all of these reasons our listening is not passive, but active, an engagement with God and an act of worship. Like our songs, Scripture readings are available on the screen and in print.
PREACHING THE WORD
At the center of our gatherings is the preached Word of God. Through it we seek an encounter with the living God. We preach through books of the Bible in a desire to preach “the whole counsel of God” (Acts 20:27). Preaching can help us understand the Bible and also know God more completely through the gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ: “Now I would remind you, brothers, of the gospel I preached to you, which you received, in which you stand, and by which you are being saved, if you hold fast to the word I preached to you” (1Cor. 15:1).
PICTURING THE WORD
Jesus gave two signs to publicly signal that we belong to him and to one another. Baptism symbolizes a person’s union with Jesus Christ in his death, burial, and resurrection (Rom. 6:3–5). It’s also how we as a church identify the disciples we make (Matt. 28:19). Baptisms are scheduled periodically throughout the year. The Lord’s Table is a simple bread and cup meal instituted by Jesus before his death for his disciples. The bread represents his broken body and the cup pictures Jesus’ blood that was shed for our sins (Matt. 26:26–29). This Lord’s Table, or communion, should be taken in a serious manner, with a combination sober examination and thankfulness our sins are forgiven (1Cor. 11:23–32). The Lord’s Table is observed approximately every six weeks.
HOW SHOULD I DRESS?
Heritage is a gathering of men and women, of different ages, and diverse backgrounds. This diversity is reflected in our dress, and we are glad for that. Most of our members generally dress business casual, with a range from jeans to suits, slacks and dresses. Whatever you wear, “Put on then, as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience, bearing with one another . . . above all these put on love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony” (Col. 3:12–14).