Jesus serves us through his holy Word and Sacraments. Through these means, He comes among us to deliver His forgiveness and salvation, freeing us from our sins and strengthening us for service to one another and to the world. We generally refer to the church service as Divine Service. Our divine God promises to come and serve us through his word and sacraments. We then respond with thanks and praise both in the Divine Service, as well as out in the world through our vocations.
The word ‘liturgy’ comes from a Greek word meaning ‘service’. You don’t go to a restaurant, and then place your own order, cook your own meal, serve yourself, clear the table, and wash your own dishes! (You could do that at home.) You go to a restaurant in order to be served. In the same way, through the liturgy, God serves you (a 3 course meal).
The first course. A typical first course at a restaurant is a salad. It’s nutritious and it’s good for you. The first course in church (God’s restaurant) is Confession and Absolution. It cleanses you of all guilt, and it’s good for you to clear your conscience.
The second course, main course. Next in church we come before our king (Introit) and ask for mercy (Kyrie), praise him for giving us mercy thru his son (Gloria in Excelsis), and then we listen to what our God has to say to us (through scripture readings and the sermon). This is the main course with all the trimmings. It fills us up, nourishes us, and strengthens us. We then respond by speaking to God through prayer and giving our offerings for his use.
The third course, dessert. Lastly in church (on certain Sundays), we finish with Holy Communion. In the sacrament Jesus gives us the sweet joy of being united to him in a very profound way, receiving another dose of forgiveness, and being strengthened in faith. What a way to be sent out into the world!