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This post is part of a series of posts focused on teaching your children about the Divine Service. For an introduction to this series, please click here.
For The Preparation, click here.
For The Entrance Rite, click here.
For The Liturgy of the Word, click here.
For The Preparation of the Table, click here.
We have arrived! The Divine Service has brought us to the altar to receive Christ’s body and blood, a time where we celebrate with all the saints the marriage feast of heaven. As we raise our children and teach them about this wonderful gift, it is important to teach about the elements of the service so they learn about what God is giving us.
P The Lord be with you.
C And with thy spirit.
P Lift up your hearts.
C We lift them up unto the Lord.
P Let us give thanks unto the Lord our God.
C It is meet and right so to do.
The Preface is one of the oldest parts of the Divine Service. In this start to the Service of the Sacrament, we proclaim the reality that this is where heaven and earth come together. Regardless of whether you have a freestanding altar and your pastor stands behind it, facing the congregation, or an altar where your pastor cannot stand behind it, during this part of the service, he will be facing you.
Consider the following as you teach your children about the Preface:
- Say and ask: “Our pastor makes different motions when he speaks to us here. Why do you think he bows and raises his hands at different times?”
- Talk to your child about how this preparation helps us to focus on the truth that Jesus is truly present in the Supper.
Following the Preface is the Proper Preface.
It is truly good, right, and salutary . . . evermore praising You and saying:
Spoken by the pastor, the Proper Preface has two formulaic phrases with variable parts spoken in the middle. These “variable words” connect the Divine Service to the Church Year by teaching and professing truths from Scripture that tie into the season. See how the two following variable parts connect to the specific time in the Church Year being celebrated:
It is truly good, right, and salutary that we should at all times and in all places give thanks to You, holy Lord, almighty Father, everlasting God, through Jesus Christ, our Lord, whose way John the Baptist prepared, proclaiming Him the promised Messiah, the very Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world, and calling sinners to repentance that they might escape from the wrath to be revealed when He comes again in glory.
It is truly good, right, and salutary that we should at all times and in all places give thanks to You, holy Lord, almighty Father, everlasting God. And most especially are we bound to praise You on this day for the glorious resurrection of Your Son, Jesus Christ, the very Paschal Lamb, who was sacrificed for us and bore the sins of the world. By His dying He has destroyed death, and by His rising again He has restored to us everlasting life.
Finally, we hear these words leading us into the Sanctus: “Therefore with angels and archangels, and with all the company of Heaven, we laud and magnify Your glorious name, evermore praising You and saying.” What another blessed reminder of the truth that we are coming to the altar in the marriage feast of the lamb; it is the time where heaven comes to earth.
When you teach your children about the Proper Preface, consider:
- Have them listen to the variable words. Ask them where these come from in Scripture. Where do we find what the pastor said (or chanted)?
- Ask them: “What does it mean, ‘with Angels and Archangels’?”
We are only two elements of the Liturgy of the Lord’s Supper in, and we still have a lot to go! Next week, we will cover the Sanctus, the Lord’s Prayer, and the Words of Institution. Between now and then, leave us a message in the comment section below! How do you teach your children about the Lord’s Supper?
God’s blessings as you teach your children “the faith that was once for all delivered to the saints” (Jude 1:3 ESV).
Selections from Divine Service, Setting Three, come from Lutheran Service Book, copyright © 2006 Concordia Publishing House. Used by Permission.
Proper Preface for Advent and for Easter come from Lutheran Service Book: Altar Book, copyright © 2006 Concordia Publishing House. Used by Permission.
To learn more about the Divine Service, pick up a copy of Heaven on Earth: The Gifts of Christ in the Divine Service from Concordia Publishing House.
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