Call to Confession
Responding rightly to God’s call means we recognize our inability to worship him purely because sin distorts our worship. God calls us to repent of (to turn from) our sin. A call to repentance goes out from a pastor, reflecting God’s call upon all to forsake sin and turn to him.
Corporate Confession of Sin
Confessing sin is an ongoing part of the Christian life. Confession doesn’t mean “admitting” something, but rather it means to agree with God that sin is a reality in our lives and that we acknowledge its damaging effects on us. This is true of us individually, and as a body (the church is the “body of Christ”). This means that there are corporate sins that we must confess before God and one another. Our individual sins affect ourselves and our church as well. As we confess together, we are corporately and individually forsaking our sin in favor of Christ. We draw near with a humble heart and confess our sins to God, our Father, imploring him in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ to grant us forgiveness.
Assurance of Pardon
Scripture tells us that “if we confess our sins, God is faithful and just to forgive our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” So having confessed our sins (corporate and individual), we hear the promise of God’s forgiveness. What a joyful thing to hear the promise that God has forgiven us! Now, with joy and humility we are able to rightly come before him with singing!
Gloria in Excelsis
This tenth-century hymn is sung in response to God’s mercy in forgiving us, declaring “Glory be to God on high!”
Prayer of Ascension
In this prayer, the pastor leads the congregation into singing by agreeing with God that it is right and beneficial that we should give thanks to God, and acknowledges that we are joining with the company of heaven and with all the church on earth to praise and magnify the Lord.
A Sanctus (a song declaring the holiness of God) is sung, joining with the Seraphim in Isaiah 6, and Revelation 4 who sing, “Holy, holy, holy is the Lord.”