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The Community of Grace - 1 Peter

A service plan from the Apostles' Creed focused on the united Body of Christ found in the Christian Church and the forgiveness of sins in a series on the Apostles' Creed as explained in the Heidelberg Catechism.

Worship Service
The Apostles' Creed

Theme of the Service

When the Holy Spirit bridges the gap and brings us to share in Christ (see previous service/sermon), he draws us together into the visible body of Christ. This body of Christ, called the Christian Church, is a community of grace and exists in all places and all generations.

The theme of this service will weave together three lines of truth-the holy catholic church, (which is) a communion of saints, and (is based on) the forgiveness of sins.


Prelude: "Oh, for a Thousand Tongues" [see <href="#music" >music notes]
or "God Is Here!"

The Call to Worship

*Song of Praise: "God Is Here" (st. 1-3) PsH 516

*Our Declaration of Trust and God's Greeting
Congregation of Jesus Christ, in whom are you trusting?
Our help is in the name of the Lord who made heaven and earth.
Grace, mercy, and peace to you in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.

*Worshipers Greet Each Other
(The historic greeting to one another is to express "The peace of Christ to you" or similar words.)

*Song of Response: "God Is Here" (st. 4)


The Call to Confession [see <href="#liturgy" >liturgy notes]

Our Prayer of Confession
Merciful God,
we confess that we have sinned against you
in thought, word, and deed,
by what we have done,
and by what we have left undone.
We have not loved you
with our whole heart and mind and strength.
We have not loved our neighbors as ourselves.
In your mercy forgive what we have been,
help us to amend what we are,
and direct what we shall be,
so that we may delight in your will
and walk in your ways,
to the glory of your holy name.
Through Christ, our Lord. Amen.
(The Worship Sourcebook, 2.2.11)

The Assurance of God's Pardon
This morning you will receive the bread and the cup at the Lord's Table. And you will be invited
to eat and drink believing that the body and blood of the Lord Jesus Christ was given for a
complete remission of all your sins. May that assurance be yours in rich abundance.

Response of Praise: "I Will Sing of My Redeemer" PsH 479, TWC 492 [see <href="#music" >music notes]

God's Call to Grateful Living: Micah 6:8 (spoken)
or (sung) Anthem: "Offertory," Beck [see <href="#music" >music notes]


The Pastoral Prayer

The Offertory
The Offering of Music: "The Church's One Foundation" [see <href="#music" >music notes]
The Offering of our Gifts for . . .


*Song: "The Church's One Foundation" PH 442, PsH 502, RL 394, TH 347, TWC 689, UMH 545 [see <href="#music" >music notes]

The Prayer for Illumination

The Reading of the Catechism
What do you believe
concerning "the holy catholic church"?

I believe that the Son of God,
through his Spirit and Word,
out of the entire human race,
from the beginning of the world to its end,
gathers, protects, and preserves for himself
a community chosen for eternal life
and united in true faith.
And of this community I am and always will be
a living member.

What do you understand by
"the communion of saints"?

First, that believers one and all,
as members of this community,
share in Christ
and in all his treasures and gifts.

Second, that each member
should consider it a duty
to use these gifts
readily and cheerfully
for the service and enrichment
of the other members.

What do you believe
concerning "the forgiveness of sins"?

I believe that God,
because of Christ's atonement,
will never hold against me
any of my sins
nor my sinful nature
which I need to struggle against all my life.

Rather, in his grace
God grants me the righteousness of Christ
to free me forever from judgment.
(The Heidelberg Catechism, Lord's Day 21)

The Reading of Scripture: 1 Peter 2:1-12
The Word of the Lord.
Thanks be to God!

Sermon: "The Community of Grace" (The Apostles' Creed - #11)
Text: 1 Peter 2:9-10

The Prayer of Application


God's Invitation and Welcome

*Our Profession
I am right with God
and heir to life everlasting
only by true faith in Jesus Christ.

Even though my conscience accuses me
of having grievously sinned against all God's commandments
and of never having kept any of them,
and even though I am still inclined toward all evil,
without my deserving it at all,
out of sheer grace,
God grants and credits to me
the perfect satisfaction, righteousness, and holiness of Christ,
as if I had never sinned nor been a sinner,
as if I had been as perfectly obedient
as Christ was obedient for me.

All I need to do
is to accept this gift of God with a believing heart.
(Heidelberg Catechism, Lord's Day 23)

*Song: "Lift Up Your Hearts Unto the Lord" PsH 309, SFL 63, TWC 771

The Children's Moment

The Prayer of Approach

Preparing the Bread and the Cup

Our Participation in the Bread
(A time of reflection on Christ's love for us.)
Music: "What Wondrous Love" [see <href="#music" >music notes]

Our Participation in the Cup
(A time of reflection on God's grace for us.)
Music: "Amazing Grace" [see <href="#music" >music notes]

The Prayer of Thanksgiving


*The Blessing and Congregational Amen!

*Song of Praise: "Praise the Savior" PsH 400, TH 243

Postlude: "Fanfare," Lemmens

* you are invited to stand

Sermon Notes:

1. Two different methods may be used to weave together the three threads of this sermon-the holy catholic church, the communion of saints, and the forgiveness of sins. The academic and didactic method would have three points and move from one to the other, remarking along the way how the three are all tied together. It may, however, be more meaningful to focus on the church and draw the next two statements of the creed in as descriptive of the church. We can point to a number of biblical descriptions of the church as the body of Christ. Romans 12, 1 Corinthians 12, and Colossians 3:12 can lead up to the description provided by Peter in our text.

2. The other statements of the creed add confessional description to the nature of the church. We are "forgiven," a "communion," and "catholic." Each of these warrants explanation and illustration as the Catechism sets them forth.

3. On the basis of these teachings, we can affirm a number of things about the church: our identify is from God, not ourselves; we are called together by God, not ourselves; though sinful we are graced; though different we are bonded; and though present we have an eternal future.

4. The aim of this message should be that of stirring up a heart of thanks and a sense of privilege as we prepare to come to the Lord's Table as the body of Christ.

Music Notes:

Glossary of Hymnal Abbreviations:
PH The Presbyterian Hymnal (Presbyterian Church USA; Westminster/John Knox Press)
PsH The Psalter Hymnal (Christian Reformed Church; Faith Alive Christian Resources)
RL Rejoice in the Lord (Reformed Church in America; W.B. Eerdmans Publishing Company)
RN Renew! (Hope Publishing Company)
SFL Songs for LiFE (children's songbook; Faith Alive Christian Resources)
SNC Sing! A New Creation (Calvin Institute of Christian Worship, Christian Reformed Church,
Reformed Church in America; Faith Alive Christian Resources)
TH Trinity Hymnal (Orthodox Presbyterian Church, Presbyterian Church in America; Great
Commission Publications)
TWC The Worshiping Church (Hope Publishing Company)
UMH The United Methodist Hymnal (United Methodist Publishing House)
WOV With One Voice (Augsburg Fortress)

1. The suggestions for prelude based on the hymn tunes AZMON and ABBOT'S LEIGH can be found in the following resources:

AZMON ["Oh, for a Thousand Tongues to Sing"]

  • Bouman, Paul. Partita on Azmon. CPH 97-6506 [1995] (E-M).
  • Cherwien, David. Groundings. Augsburg 11-11119 [2001] (E-M).
  • Hobby, Robert A. Three Hymns of Praise, set 6. Morningstar MSM-10-542 [2000] (E-M).
  • Jordan, Alice. Worship Service Music for the Organist. Broadman 4570-27 [1975] (E-M).
  • Manz, Paul. God of Grace. Morningstar MSM-10-599 [2004] (E-M).
  • Manz, Paul. Ten Chorale Improvisations, set 9. Concordia 97-5556 [1980] (E-M).
  • Smith, Mark Brampton. Partita on Azmon. Morningstar MSM-10-718 [1996] (E-M).


  • Sherman, Arnold B. Acclamation on "Azmon." Agape 1363 [1989] (3-5 octaves, M).
  • Sherman, Arnold B. Our Great Redeemer's Praise. Red River HB0018 [1997] (3-5 octaves, level 3).

ABBOT'S LEIGH ["God Is Here!"]

  • Cherwien, David. Two Hymntune Preludes. GIA G-4477 [1997] (E-M).
  • Hobby, Robert A. 2 English Hymn Tune Settings. Morningstar MSM-10-856 [1995] (E-M).
  • Lovelace, Austin C. Abbot's Leigh. Hope 274 [1985] (E-M).


  • Afdahl, Lee J. Abbot's Leigh. Agape 2103 [1999] (3-5 octaves, level 2+).

2. Alternative harmonizations for the first two hymns of the service, "God Is Here!" and "I Will Sing of My Redeemer," can be found in the following resources:

ABBOT'S LEIGH ["God Is Here!"]
Alternative Harmonization for Organ:

  • Burkhardt, Michael. As Though the Whole Creation Cried. Morningstar MSM-10-555 [2001].

Alternative Harmonization for Piano:

  • Cherwien, David. Let It Rip! At the Piano, vol. 2. Augsburg ISBN 0-8006-7580-0 [2003].

HYFRYDOL ["I Will Sing of My Redeemer"]
Alternative Harmonization for Organ:

  • Ferguson, John. Hymn Harmonizations for Organ, bk. 1. Ludwig O-05 [1975].

Alternative Harmonization for Piano:

  • Cherwien, David. Let It Rip! At the Piano. Augsburg 11-11045 [2000].

3. The SATB anthem "Offertory" by John Ness Beck is published by Beckenhorst BP1280 [1987] (E-M).

4. Suggestions for the offertory music, based on the hymn tune AURELIA ("The Church's One Foundation"), can be found in the following resources:


  • Barr, John G. Three Preludes on Hymn Tunes. H.W. Grey GSTC 01079 [1992] (E-M).
  • Burkhardt, Michael. Six General Hymn Improvisations, set 2. Morningstar MSM-10-534 [1999].
  • Cherwien, David. Interpretations, bk. 5. AMSI SP-102 [1985] (E-M).
  • Hildebrand, Kevin. Easy Hymn Preludes for Organ, vol. 3. Concordia 97-7052 [2004] (E).
  • Honore, Jeffrey. Classic Embellishments. Augsburg 11-11005 [1999] (E-M. can include a solo instrument).
  • Krapf, Gerhard. Sing and Rejoice, vol. 5. SMP KK323 [1984] (adaptable for piano, E-M).

5. Alternative harmonizations for "The Church's One Foundation" can be found in the following:
Alternative Harmonization for Organ:

  • Ferguson, John. Hymn Harmonizations, bk. 5. Ludwig O-14 [1992].
  • Thiman, Eric. Varied Accompaniments to Thirty-Four Well-Known Hymn Tunes. Oxford ISBN 0 19 323210 3 [1937].

Alternative Harmonization for Piano:

  • Cherwien, David. Let It Rip! At the Piano. Augsburg 11-11045 [2000].

6. Music for reflection and for accompanying singing during the distribution of the communion elements can be found in the following sources:


  • Bish, Diane. The Diane Bish Organ Book, vol. 1. Fred Bock B-G0548 [1980] (E-M).
  • Haan, Raymond H. The King of Love. SMP KK277 [1983] (E-M).
  • Held, Wilbur. Preludes and Postludes, vol. 1. Augsburg 11-9318 [1972] (E).
  • Hobby, Robert A. For All the Saints. Augsburg ISBN 0-8006-7537-1 [2002] (E-M).
  • Martin, Gilbert. Two Preludes on American Hymn Tunes. H.W.Grey GSTC 962 [1972] (E-M).


  • Albrecht, Mark. Timeless Hymns of Faith. Augsburg 11-10863 [1998] (E-M).
  • Carter, John. Folk Hymns for Piano. Hope 240 [1987] (E-M).
  • Leavitt, John. How Sweet the Sound. CPH 97-6891 [2000] (M; gospel style).
  • Sanborn, Jan. Piano Music for the Care of the Soul. Ron Harris RHP0403 [1997] (M).
  • Schubert, Myra. Give Him Praise. Lillenas MB-511 [1983] (M-D).


  • Dobrinski, Cynthia. Amazing Grace. Lake State HB 00067 [2000] (2-3 octaves, E-M).
  • Kauffmann, Ronald. Amazing Grace. Flammer HP-5207 [1986] (3 octaves, E-M).

Choral Resources:

  • Coates, John Jr. Amazing Grace. Shawnee A-1130 [1971] (SATB with keyboard, E-M).
  • Kallman, Daniel. Amazing Grace. Morningstar MSM-50-9073 [1995] (SATB with keyboard E-M).

Alternative Harmonization for Organ:

  • Busarow, Donald. All Praise to You, Eternal God. Augsburg 11-9076 [1980].

Alternative Harmonization for Piano:

  • Cherwien, David. Let It Rip! At the Piano. Augsburg 11-11045 [2000].

WONDROUS LOVE ["What Wondrous Love"]

  • Barber, Samuel. Wondrous Love. Schirmer 44477 [1959] (M-D).
  • Callahan, Charles. Six Meditations on American Folk Hymns. Concordia 97-6140 [1992] (E-M).
  • Cherwien, David. Interpretations, bk. 9. AMSI SP-106 [1992] (E-M).
  • Johnson, David N. Hymns Settings for Organ. Augsburg Fortress ISBN 0-8006-7498-7 [2002] (E).
  • Johnson, David N. Wondrous Love. Augsburg 11-0821 [1965] (E).
  • Manz, Paul. God of Grace. Morningstar MSM-10-599 [2004] (M).
  • Phillips, Don. All Hail the Power of Jesus' Name (ed. Lyon, Sharron). Broadman 4570-31 [1976] (E).
  • Young, Gordon. Preludes on the Familiar. Fischer 0 4886 [1972] (E-M).


  • Carter, John. Folk Hymns for Piano. Hope 240 [1987] (E-M).
  • Carter, John. The Wondrous Cross. Hope 1747 [1994] (E-M).


  • Larson, Lloyd. What Wondrous Love. Beckenhorst HB 150 [1994] (3-5 octaves, E-M).
  • Wagner, Douglas E. What Wondrous Love. Agape 1312 [1988] (3-5 octaves, E-M).

Choral Resources:

  • Christiansen, Paul. Wondrous Love. Augsburg 1140 (SATB, E-M).

Alternative Harmonization for Organ:

  • Burkhardt, Michael. As Though the Whole Creation Cried. Morningstar MSM-10-555 [2001].

Alternative Harmonization for Piano:

  • Cherwien, David. Let It Rip! At the Piano. Augsburg 11-11045 [2000].

7. The organ postlude "Fanfare" can be found in the following resources:

  • Lemmens, J. Fanfare in D. Fischer P2319 (M).
  • Davis, Roger. The Organists' Manual. W.W. Norton [1985] (M).

Liturgy Notes:

1. Congregations often need reminders of the significance of certain steps in a worship service. That is particularly true for the service of confession and renewal, and especially in this service in which the "forgiveness of sins" from the Apostles' Creed is in focus. As you prepare and introduce the confession of sin, consider these words from Dr. Cornelius Plantinga Jr. in his book Beyond Doubt (p. 54):

Nobody wants to confess sins. It scuffs our pride. It doesn't sound like possibility thinking. So we skip it. Or we print out the short list instead of a full account. Or we mumble. . . . The problem is that sin is like garbage. You don't want to let it build up. Confessing sin is like taking out the garbage. You want to do it regularly because taking out the garbage is an extremely healthy thing to do.

2. For the prayer of confession, we have included a formulation of a prayer that has been used by many Christians over many centuries. Taking these words on our lips gives us a sense of solidarity with Christians of previous generations who have confessed, "I believe in the forgiveness of sins."

3. It is vitally important to build a meaningful bridge from the sermon to the sacrament. We've taken another section of the Heidelberg Catechism (from Lord's Day 23) so that all can take on their lips the words of affirming that we stand before God as those who are pardoned.

4. A time for the children would be very special just before we proceed with the sacrament. Taking a few minutes to explain to the children what we have done, why we just said those words about being forgiven and "right with God," and now what we will be doing at communion, and why, will draw them into this event very meaningfully.

5. You will likely structure the liturgy of the Lord's Supper according to your local custom and the formularies provided for it. We have offered these suggestions with the assumption that you will merge them with your local practices.

6. During the distribution of the bread and the cup, we suggest that the reflection and meditation by the worshipers be directed. Some seem unable to use silence meaningfully unless they are given some direction about what to reflect on. Here the directives are given by the words of the worship leader, and are reinforced by the message of the music being offered.