When you join us for worship on Sunday, we hope you will notice five things about our service.
Our worship is:
1. Our worship is God-centred. The great need of our world is to know God as he really is, and then to bow before him in joyful adoration. The God of the Bible is the Glorious Lord, the Sovereign Creator, the Almighty Redeemer, and the Holy Judge. He is awesome in His power, breathtaking in his grandeur, and terrifying in his holiness. That's why, in our worship, the tone is warm and glad hearted, and at the same time deeply reverent and solemn.
2. Our worship is gospel driven. 'Gospel logic' informs and structures our services. This means that, at the beginning of every Sunday morning service, we listen to the demands God makes of us in his law. Then we join in prayer to acknowledge that, before the requirements of God's holiness, we need forgiveness and to seek pardon from Jesus Christ afresh. Then we receive God's assurance, from the promises of Scripture, that all who turn to Jesus for mercy truly find it in him. So right at the outset the good news of free forgiveness in Christ is centre stage. Jesus and all that he has done for lost sinners is the heartbeat of our worship, and our whole lives at London City Presbyterian Church.
3. Our worship is scripture regulated. Since Jesus Christ is central in all our worship, we are careful to listen to his voice, which we hear today only through his inspired word, the Bible. Consequently, in common with other churches of the reformed tradition, God's word shapes everything we do in worship. We read the Bible, preach the Bible, and we confess the faith of the Bible. We sing the songs of the Bible (called Psalms), and respond to the message of the Bible in prayer and in giving our offerings.
Our singing is led by a Precentor, (a strong singer who sets the pitch and tempo) rather than by musical instruments, and we sing the Psalms in contemporary and traditional translations. This is undoubtedly the most unusual part of our worship but we have come to love singing the songs God himself has given us, and to appreciate the simple and quiet tradition of unaccompanied singing retained from the early church and our Reformation forefathers.
Ours is a generation of gimmickry and spin, where spiritual reality is at a premium. We believe that there is something substantial and real in the ancient songs of the Bible, sung in the historic pattern of the reformation tradition. Far from being dusty and out of date, we believe these ancient psalms speak with incredible directness to life and experience today.
4. Our worship is covenantal in structure. God has made covenant promises with his people from the very beginning of his dealings with the human race. In Eden God made a covenant of life with our first parents. Because of Adam's first sin we are all guilty and sinful by nature. Yet God has been pleased not to leave us in our sin but has freely entered into another covenant, a covenant of grace, in which he has pledged to save sinners by grace alone, through faith alone, in Jesus Christ alone.
At the heart of the covenants God has made, is a dialogical principle. God calls and we obey, God speaks and we respond in repentance and faith, God promises and we believe, God answers our cries for mercy with grace upon grace and we respond in praise. This pattern of covenant dialogue between the Lord and his people can be seen on those occasions where God makes covenants with his people in Scripture, it is the pattern emulated in the various old covenant temple services, sacrifices and sacred feasts, and it is the pattern repeated in the new covenant Lord's Day assemblies when God's people gathered to break bread together. Here at London City Presbyterian Church, we strive to make this the ordinary pattern of our worship every week.
5. Our worship is historic. None of us exists in a vacuum, yet in our society today we increasingly feel isolated and rootless. Don't we long for a sense of connection to something bigger, something that transcends our time and place and links us to generations gone before? In our worship at London City Presbyterian Church we try to be historic without failing to be contemporary, traditional without falling foul of mere traditionalism.
Singing the psalms, of course, is a wonderful means by which to get in touch with the past. The psalms connect us to three millennia of piety and devotion, as we join God's people across the centuries in expressing our worship in the language of these inspired songs. In our teaching and preaching, too, we endeavour to produce Christians who live out the ancient biblical and reformation faith with a vibrant and contemporary edge that will inform every aspect of their lives in our post-modern world.
All that remains now is for us to extend to you our warmest invitation to join us for worship this coming Lord's Day. We look forward to seeing you then!