Hollywood Lutheran Church
About our Worship Life
Worship is the center of the Christian life because in it we keep our focus as children of a loving God and as followers of a courageous Christ. Prayer and worship both empowers us to face our daily challenges, and commissions us to go out and serve others in Jesus' name.
In prayer and liturgical forms, we use the language of our own times, to express the true worship in our hearts. As much as ever, the word of our Lord calls us worship in sincerity and in truth.
In song, we draw upon a rich Christian history of hymns and canticles written in many countries over the centuries. From our hymn collections, we select classical Lutheran chorales or early American melodies, folks songs or spirituals. While the music lifts and carries our hearts, the words carry our Christian faith and teachings in a way that lessons or sermons cannot match.
In the sacrament of the Eucharist or Holy Communion, we experience the deepest sense of unity with one another, and with believers of all times past and places in the world, in the very presence of Christ.
Worship gives us the language of spirituality for our daily lives. Grounded in word, sacrament and song, our weekly worship teaches our hearts to pray, to sing and to hope for grace each day of our lives.
Lutherans are singing Christians. In addition to hymns and songs, portions of the Sunday liturgy are also chanted or sung according to ancient tradition. The use of this tradition changes from season to season, so that the Liturgy never bcomes boring.
Ecumenical Services are held on festivals with our neighboring Christian churches. On Easter Sunday, we will join Beloved Disciple Old Catholic Church in a festive and moving service.
During Holy Week, there are DAILY PRAYERS AT NOON in the Chancel. On Maundy Thursday, a special Taize-style Eucharist will be offered with the solemn Stripping of the Altar afterward. On Good Friday we will join with our sisters and brothers of Mt. Hollywood Congregational Church for the solemn observance of the Way of the Cross utllizing the Evangelical Stations of the Cross.
Also see: Easter in Hollywood.
What is "Liturgy"?
Lutheran worship is liturgical. The word "liturgy" comes from Greek, meaning "the work of the people." Lutherans preserve the ancient Christian tradition in our liturgy, but we also incorporate modern practices. The Lutheran Sunday service is focused on two key elements: the reading and proclamation of the Word of God, and the celebration of the Lord’s Supper.
Lutheran Liturgy is also communal. The hearing of the word and the sharing of intercessions and prayers unites us into one community, one family. Public worship is different in this regard from private devotions or meditations. In our weekly worship, we truly become the Body of Christ, in which each person has a place at the table, and each person has a voice for praise and thanksgiving.
Forms of worship are always evolving. Liturgical traditions are not binding – and we take liberty with these forms – but they help protect Sunday worship from carelessness, whims or the personal preferences of individual pastors and musicians. Liturgy and the biblical Lectionary create a useful discipline which pastors use in planning worship and in preaching.
About Intercessory Prayer
Nowhere is "the work of the people" more meaningful than in our public prayer on behalf of the world, the church, and all people according to their needs.
Although we use petitions prepared in advance to guide us, prayers coming from the heart are encouraged at every service—petitions and thanksgivings which may be offered spontaneously by anyone present.
Prayer puts us at the disposal of the Holy Spirit, who receives our prayer, teaches us how to pray, and empowers the prayers of all faithful people to bring about good in the world. the Word assures us that whatever we ask in the name of Christ will be granted by God.
At left: Albrecht Durer, brush drawing on paper, 1508
About Music in Our Worship
An ancient religious saying suggested that "the one who sings prays twice." Lutheran liturgy is a musical form of worship. In addition to popular Christian hymns, we use musical settings of the Psalms and other Biblical and ancient canticles of the church. The Pastor and people sing responsive portions of the liturgy. We hope to be using hand bells in worship within a few months.
The Liturgy as presented at Hollywood Lutheran Church is very musical. Choir and Cantor support the congregation's singing as well as perform music which is specially prepared for choirs.
Our music includes the traditional pipe organ, piano and electronic piano. Occasionally we also incorporate drums, recorders, harp, English handbells and other instruments.
Who is welcome at the Table of the Lord?
We believe that the Eucharist belongs to the whole church. As one of the means of grace instituted by Christ himself, Communion is a source of spiritual strength for all Christians, because through it sins are forgiven, and believers become part of the body of Christ on earth. All baptized persons who come in sincerity and faith are welcome.
Lutherans teach that Christ is truly present in the Sacrament of the Altar, and that believers receive the Lord’s true Body and blood when they eat the bread and drink from the cup.
Hollywood Lutheran Church practices open communion – meaning that all baptized Christians are welcome at the Lord’s Table, not just Lutherans. We reject as inhospitable and unnecessarily burdensome to one’s conscience the idea that only persons who are in complete doctrinal agreement should commune together. Since all of us are human, our understanding is never perfect (1 Cor. 13:9). But when we commune, we are called to understand our unity in the body of Christ (1 Cor. 11:27-29) and to do so reverently, not frivolously.
No one should be kept away from the means of grace because of theological quibbling. Our unity in Christ is the gift of the Holy Spirit, not the official agreement of authorized theologians.
Children are also welcome to receive Holy Communion. If your children have received the sacrament elsewhere, you may have taught them to have their hands open to receive the bread when the Pastor comes to them. If they have not previously received the sacrament or been instructed in its meaning, please speak to the Pastor before the service to arrange for some basic instruction for your child.
If children are not prepared or do not want to receive the sacrament at the rail, they may still come forward with the family, and fold their hands in prayer. The Pastor offers a personal blessing to each child.
What if I haven't been to Communion in years?
If your faith has brought you back to God, you are most welcome at the Lord's Supper. Perhaps your greatest fear is that you will "stand out," or not know quite how to act. Please feel at ease!
Come forward when others in your row are ready. You may kneel at the altar rail. (If kneeling is difficult or painful, please stand at the rail). If you cannot physically come forward, let us know and the Pastor will come to your seat.
Real bread and real wine (grape juice is also at hand for those who prefer it or require it) are blessed and consecrated. The bread is broken by the Pastor, and a small piece is placed in the hands of each communicant. The wine is distributed in a large chalice. Grape juice is available in a separate chalice. You may eat the bread and drink directly from the chalice (the lip is carefully wiped after each person; wine is a disinfectant), or you may dip the bread into the wine and then eat it.
Afterward, the Pastor gives a brief blessing to all those at the rail and dismisses them to their seats.
Our Brothers and Sisters in Faith
Hollywood Lutheran Church hosts three other Christian congregations. Other regular worship opportunities:
- 10:30 a.m. Mt. Hollywood Congregational Church worship in the Gallery Hall.
- 11:45 a.m. Korean language -- Way of Life Church: Rev. Tae Joon ("Tom") Jun, Pastor
- 1:30 p.m. Traditional Catholic Mass -- St. Michael's Apostolic Old Catholic Church: Fr. Hans Kroneberg, Pastor
- 3:00 p.m. Celtic Mass -- Church of the Beloved Disciple, American Catholic Church; Bp. Robert M. Clement and Deacon Roberta Morris.
What does "Eucharist" mean? What became of "Holy Communion"?
Eucharist is an ancient Greek word meaning "thanksgiving." This is what Christians do when they remember that Christ laid down his life for us, and poured out his blood for our redemption. The Lord's Supper, the Sacrament of the Altar, and Holy Communion are other terms for Eucharist.
When we come together in praise to God, break bread and lift the cup, we remember Christ's life-giving sacrifice for us. There is no higher things for which to praise and thank God but that Jesus laid down his life to redeem the world.
We also re-member the body of Christ together, because together we form the body of Christ in the world today.
The heart of weekly worship at Hollywood Lutheran Church is the Sunday Eucharist, or service of Holy Communion.
Similar to the historic Mass in form, the Lutheran order of service includes the proclamation of the Word of God and the sacred Meal in which Jesus Christ is present to us.
The structure of the Eucharist consists of songs and canticles, readings from the Scriptures, a sermon, the prayers and intercessions of the people, and finally the act of thanksgiving and sharing the Bread and Cup of the Lord.
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