Notes on the Liturgy – The Invocation

This is part 2 of 22 in the series Notes on the Liturgy

(Editor’s Note: Early on this website has included much in the way of theological critique. Our goal is to not only teach the Brothers (and others) how to critique bad theology and practice but to also proactively train the Brothers in good practice and theology and so we will be offering more columns such as this new one that teaches about the liturgy. This is the second in a twenty two part series. We thank Pastor David Oberdieck for letting us use it. We cannot say everything about every part of the liturgy in this series so if you think there are significant things left unsaid please use the comment section to help grow the Brothers.

These were initially intended to be put into bulletins or read at the start or end of the service to educate the laity on the different parts of the service. As we develop them we hope to put them in a form that can be used in that manner, or inserted into newsletters or other methods of distribution.)

Notes on the Liturgy #2 — THE INVOCATION

AltarThere are three significant elements in regard to the invocation. First, when the pastor calls out, “In the name of the Father, and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit,” it acts as a simple creed. We are confessing whom we believe the one true God is. We worship the Trinity and none other. When outsiders come to the  Divine Service, if they are paying attention, they will realize that  the people they are with are worshipping the Triune God. We are clear right up front, in whose name we gather and who we are worshipping.

Second, in the Invocation, we are asking for and acknowledging God’s presence in the service. “For where two or three come together in my name, there am I with them.” (Matt 18:20 NIV)

Finally, it is significant that the Invocation is accompanied by the sign of the cross. We received both the name of the Trinity and the sign of the cross at Baptism. We received the name of the Trinity by divine command. Since Baptism gives us the benefits of the cross, the sign of the cross was placed upon us according to the tradition of the catholic church. This then should be a reminder to us that God, who washed us and claimed us in Baptism, is the one who has brought us into the worshiping community. “We do not come as those who deserve to come because of what we have done.” We come because He has called us through the Holy Spirit in the water and Word of Baptism.

These notes were originally written in 2001 by Pastor David Oberdieck and have been edited.

About Norm Fisher

Norm was raised in the UCC in Connecticut, and like many fell away from the church after high school. With this background he saw it primarily as a service organization. On the miracle of his first child he came back to the church. On moving to Texas a few years later he found a home in Lutheranism when he was invited to a confessional church a half-hour away by our new neighbors.

He is one of those people who found a like mind in computers while in Middle School and has been programming ever since. He's responsible for many websites, including the Book of Concord,, and several other sites.

He has served the church in various positions, including financial secretary, sunday school teacher, elder, PTF board member, and choir member.

Norm has been involved behind the scenes in many of the "go-to" websites for Lutherans going back many years.


Notes on the Liturgy – The Invocation — 3 Comments

  1. Rev Wollenburg — I’ve added links to the previous writeup at the bottom of the article; I’ll maintain those links as I add more of these postings. PLEASE, anyone, feel free to help expand on these; I thought these were an excellent teaching tool for the laity when I first saw them years ago, and a bit more historical information and fleshing the content out a bit would make them even better!


  2. Thank you for this series designed to educate the laity on the Divine Service. I hope more people may see this!

    Regarding the connection between the Invocation and Holy Baptism, there is another aspect I usually try to mention. The Invocation is an incomplete sentence. It is what was said over each Christian at his/her Baptism: “I baptize you . . . in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.” So the Divine Service begins with the words of Holy Baptism, along with the sign of the cross.

    There is sometimes a tendency to try to “fix” the incomplete sentence, as in “We begin in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.” This ignores the deliberate connection to Holy Baptism, where the Divine Service actually began!


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