Within The United Church of Canada, we look to the Bible as a source of wisdom, insight and devotion. We believe the Bible brings us closer to the Sacred. Though it is a document from other times and places, we feel it is still one of our best ways to engage the Sacred, and to ponder God's continuing work of creation and liberation in the world. The story of Jesus, the Messiah, is one particular application of promises sensed, old and deep, over a community's long life. In news of him, and in life among his people, we are offered forgiveness for broken things, healing for broken lifes, and a new visions for soaring souls.
Each Sunday, you will hear a selection of readings from the Bible. They re taken from a Lectionary of Common Texts used my most world churches. (The word lectionary comes from the Latin "lectio", which means "reading"). The sermon and the choir's anthems are chosen from themes in these scripture passages. Over a recurring three-year cycle, our congregation will have the opportunity to hear chosen sections from across the entire Bible. The lectionary covers about 70% of the New Testament and about 20% of the Old Testament.
By using a lectionary, we are able to follow the pattern of the church year, taking us from the coming of the Messiah in Advent, (late November), to the Holy Spirit's empowering of the church at The feast of Pentecost, (celebrated in May). The lections for the rest of the year, (called "Ordinary Time"), offer a wider variety of groupings allowing for different themes to be examined.
We refer to a passage as "the Word of God", in that it bubbles with an inspiration beyond its time, content, and form. Over the centuries the church has held on to these texts sensing their eternal significance.
There are many translations of the Bible into English from its original Hebrew and Greek texts. We find the most scholarly and inclusive version to be the New Revised Standard Version which we read publically in our services. You may borrow a Bible from the sanctuary and follow along as the text. Large print Bibles are available as well.
Prayer is one way in which we interact with the Holy. Here are some of the forms of prayer that you will find on Sunday mornings at Met.
The Prayer of Approach is the point of entry and follows the first hymn, which is called the processional. During the Invitation for Worship, we have the chance to centre ourselves in an attitude of worship.
The Prayer of Confession provides a moment of silence in which we are invited to name the areas that may be separating us from the Holy.
During the Assurance of Pardon, God's forgiving grace and compassion are proclaimed. As we hear the words of declaration, the mantle of separation begins to lift. This is the time in which we prepare to hear the reading of scriptures and bring an active listening interpretation to themes that are presented.
The Prayer of Dedication follows the offering, and represents the moment of thanksgiving to God for the gifts of our time, talents and treasures that we have just presented .
The Prayers of the People are the summation of song, word and sermon and bring to mind the themes of thanksgiving, petition for those in need, for the wider world, our own land, our neighbourhood, as well as for ourselves in the week to come. This prayer concludes with the Lord's Prayer.
The Commissioning and Benediction represent the culmination of the service sending all who gathered forward to meet the day and the world empowered by the Holy.