The Divine Service of Covenant Renewal

Our worship service is first of all called “The Divine Service” because this reminds us of what Christian worship is all about:  Above all else we are called together in order for God to serve us. Does that sound odd? Even a bit self-centered? Too often today people are taught that worship is primarily (if not exclusively!) something that we do for God. This is only partly true and unfortunately it misses the most important part. We are called into the Lord’s presence and by faith we receive His good gifts. The Lord gives, and by faith we receive. We are given His forgiveness, His Word, His sacramental nourishment, His blessing as we depart (also called the “Benediction”), etc. Only after God acts first do we respond with grateful thanksgiving and praise. In other words, “We love because He first loved us” (1 John 4:19). The classical and historic Christian phrase “The Divine Service” preserves this important truth.

Our worship service is also described as a “Covenant Renewal.” This reminds us that our relationship with God in Jesus Christ is covenantal. The phrase “covenant renewal” reminds us that God calls us into his presence on the Lord’s Day to reaffirm his love to us in Christ Jesus. As sinners, we enter God’s presence by faith, claiming not our own righteousness, but the righteousness of Christ imputed to us.

The phrase “Covenant Renewal” also teaches us that worship is not merely a time to remember what God has already done for us, but that in and through our worship, God is presently at work shaping and maturing us in Christ through forgiveness, instruction and feeding.

Finally, since the Biblical idea of “covenant” ultimately describes the perfect interpersonal relations of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit, “Covenant Renewal” worship is robustly Trinitarian. For in worship we enter into the Father’s presence, in union with His Son Jesus Christ, through the power of the Holy Spirit.

Provided by Dr. Tony Felich, M.Div., D.Arts