What to Expect
When you come to worship with us at Cornerstone on Sunday mornings at 9:30 am, you can expect to find a warm, welcoming church whose lives are being transformed by the gospel of Jesus Christ. As you enter into worship with us, you should know that our worship is:
- Purposefully liturgical. Our worship is structured with a biblical progression using historic liturgical forms so that the worshipers are freed to worship as one, united voice. This celebration of the gospel story generally takes us about ninety minutes to complete.
- Active. As we present our total selves before God, each worshiper is called to full participation in worship. The congregation is active throughout the service. We stand, kneel, raise our hands and our voices as one, unified body.
- For all ages. Our worship involves everyone from infant to aged. While we provide assistance for those who request it, we encourage the participation of children in the service. (We have age-graded Sunday School classes after the worship.)
If you have any specific questions concerning the worship service or any other aspect of the life of Cornerstone Reformed Church, contact us at 618-549-3333.
Why do we …?
Stand, kneel, and lift our hands?
People communicate through posture. For example, people stand when someone important enters a room. People wave to their friends. They hug their family. In other words, posture is a big part of being human. It’s not surprising then, that Scripture talks about posture in worship. The Psalmist calls us to “bow down” before our Maker (Ps 95.6). Bowing, or kneeling, is a sign of humility. Thus, we kneel while confessing our sins. Scripture also speaks of people standing or lifting their hands in prayer (Psalm 141.2; 1 Timothy 2.8; 1 Chronicles 23.29-30). We lift our hands to offer ourselves and our prayers to God. We stand during prayer in respect for our King. While these actions may seem odd to some in worship, we believe they are commanded in Scripture as our proper response to our God.
We are worshiping as one when we gather together on the Lord’s Day. Corporate prayers promote this unity. Corporate prayer is prescribed and patterned for us in Scripture. The book of Psalms consists of 150 prayers God expects his people to pray (whether speaking or singing). Jesus gave us what we call The Lord’s Prayer to be prayed together. He tells us to pray “Our Father,” indicating, at least, that this is proper for corporate praying. Having these pre-written prayers also gives us a chance to meditate upon what we say to God before we speak. Empty, rote, recitations are always a danger, but the problem with that lies within the worshiper himself. When we recognize that we are just “going through the motions,” we need to correct ourselves.
Recite the Creeds?
Our recitation of the ancient Creeds is our corporate confession of our faith. “I/We believe” is not merely a statement of intellectual assent, but it is “I/We trust and pledge our love and loyalty to this God and no other.” The Creeds, while not equal with Scripture, have expressed what the Christian church has believed for almost two millennia. We stand with those who have come before us and with those around the world who trust in this God who eternally exists as Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.
Celebrate the Church Year?
The Church (or Liturgical) year is built around the life of Christ. Jesus gave himself for us in a unique way, but he has also called us to follow in his footsteps. The Church year is “Christ-shaped.” The time of our living is to be shaped by the example Christ left us. The Church Year is a helpful (though not obligatory) means by which we are reminded of how we are to live giving ourselves for others.
Sing and visit during communion?
In communion God calls us to a feast with himself. This feast is part of and an anticipation of the great Feast of feasts that is to come (Isa 25; Rev 19). What God expects at a feast is rejoicing (Deut 14.22ff.). Feasts are made for laughter not mourning (Eccl 10.19). Mourning occurs in the absence of food: fasting. God prescribed this for the Day of Atonement. But at the many feasts to which he called his people, he expected rejoicing. Because of this, we sing. This feast is also not a private event. It is a meal shared with God’s people. It is not a time for individual devotions, it is a time to celebrate with the rest of the people of God. Our communion meal is just that: communion. We share life with the people sitting all around us. We visit with one another during communion because that is what you are supposed to do at a meal of celebration with family. So, don’t mourn. Rejoice!
Why are there…?
… A robe and a clerical collar on the pastor?
Throughout Scripture a man’s calling is identified by his clothing. For example, when God set apart Aaron and his sons to be priests, he distinguished them by giving them special clothes to wear (Lev 8). Just before Aaron’s death, these clothes were taken off of him and put on his son, Eliezar, indicating that there was a new high priest (Num 20.22ff.). We are not unfamiliar with this correlation between a man’s job and his clothing. We identify policemen, judges, doctors, postal workers and many others by the clothes that they wear. While it is not absolutely necessary for the pastor to wear these particular types of clothing, it is beneficial. The pastor has been set apart or ordained to perform specific tasks in the church as Christ’s representative. The white robe in worship and the clerical collar throughout the week identify him and his calling.
… Children in the service?
The Lord’s Service is the time each week in which God’s people–all of God’s people–are to present themselves before the Lord. The means by which a person becomes a member of Christ’s church is baptism. The Bible teaches that children of believers are declared by God to be a part of his people. Because God declares them to be a part of his people, it is the responsibility of the church to declare what God declares; to say what God says. The only way we can do that is through the rite that Christ prescribed that would mark out his people: baptism (Mt 28.19). Since all of our baptized children are a part of God’s people (members of the Church), they also have the obligation to present themselves before their God and commune with him at his Table. They have privileges that need to be enjoyed, and they have commands that need to be heard and obeyed, even from the youngest years. So, children have a part in the worship of God’s people on the Lord’s Day. They are a part of the family.
We realize that there are times in which small children/babies will have problems that will prohibit them from staying in the Service. For this reason we provide assistance for those who need it. But we welcome and encourage parents to bring their children into the Service. We only ask that if a child has a problem which draws attention away from the Service that he/she be taken out of the Service until the issue is resolved.