Divine Service — an Explanation is now in its third printing!

I’m pleased to announce that we are now on the THIRD printing of the pewcards shown below. My boss, a solid lutheran owner of a print shop, took this on because he agreed with me that it may help the laity better understand the liturgy and its richness. We have shipped it all over the country (though not Alaska or Hawaii yet!) including two orders to Canada! We’ve been pretty busy with other tasks and haven’t really done much to promote it other than word of mouth. We appreciate all of you who are helping to spread the knowledge of this great resource around the country.

NOTE: The printing will take a week or two; if you order them you may expect a delay before you receive the shipment. We will get them out as soon as possible though!


DS-ExplanationMany of you have observed the “Explanation of the Divine Service” pamphlets that are found in the pew racks at Bethany Lutheran Church in Naperville while attending a conference or event there.

The Brothers of John the Steadfast have worked with Martin Graphics to make a version of this pamphlet available to the church at large.  Martin Graphics prepared and printed a laminated, four-color version of the pewcard last month.

These pewcards have been so well received that a third printing has now been completed.  Some of the comments coming back to us are:

  • “We’ve always wanted to write something like this, but never had the time”.
  • “I’m thrilled with it — in addition to having it available as information for our visitors, I’m planning on having a 2- or 3- week Bible study, reading through this and expanding on the liturgy”.
  • “It’s well designed and fits nicely behind our hymnals”.
  • “These are great for visitors and members alike, and a good tool to help members learn why we worship the way we do”.

For more information about “The Divine Service — an Explanation”, or to order one or more for your church, click here.


We gratefully acknowledge the work of Pastor Timothy Rossow who developed the first version of this publication.

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, LCMSsermons.com, 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.

More of his work can be found at KNFA.net.


Divine Service — an Explanation is now in its third printing! — 7 Comments

  1. I should have stated we are now in our third printing; we are almost completely out of our second printing. It will take a week or two to get more finished product; we will get new orders out as soon as they are printed.

  2. On the web page describing the pamphlet, an excerpt about the Confession says, “We cannot approach God without having our sins forgiven. He is holy and we are not.”

    It is customary in my church to sing a hymn of praise at the beginning of the service. Some of these hymns are addressed to the Lord. Is that inappropriate?

    “Enter his gates with thanksgiving….” Psalm 100:4

    And what about church members who quietly “approach God” in prayer while they are waiting for the formal liturgy to begin? Can we not approach our Father prayerfully at any time, as his children who trust in his mercies?

    “Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.” 1 Thess 5:16-18

    And are we not holy?

    “But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation….” 1 Peter 2:9

  3. Carl,

    Since I wrote the pamphlet and it was first used in our parish here in Naperville years ago I will comment.

    This is speaking in generalities. It is not some sort of liturgical rule.

    The custom of singing a hymn to start the service is from TLH. I do not know if that is where it started. Notice that in TLH it is a “may” rubric and a “shall” rubric meaning it is optional. LSB also makes it optional. Either way is fine. Starting with confession and absolution makes more sense theologically however. Once we have the assurance of forgiveness we can sing praise to God with gusto.

    This also squares with Dr. Nagel’s introduction to worship found in the front cover of LW.

    So, it is advisable but not mandatory.

    Hope that helps.

  4. Thanks for taking the time to reply. I recognize that it’s sensible to have the Confession and Absolution at or near the beginning of the service. But I’m still trying to figure out what it means to say in this context, “We cannot approach God without having our sins forgiven.”

    What comes to mind, rather, are these truths:

    1. We often approach God for the very purposeof having our sins forgiven. (Heb. 4:16)
    2. Various orders of worship (such as Matins and Vespers, Morning and Evening Prayers, as I recall) do not include Confession/Absolution.
    3. When Jesus was on earth, he received and visited, ate with and blessed all kinds of people, including “sinners.” In other words, he approached us.
    4. In baptism we have been united with Christ.
    5. Various Bible passages describe us as God’s children, sons and heirs; and God as Abba, Father.
    6. God does not keep his distance until we ask forgiveness. God’s very Spirit lives within us, and his Spirit helps us in our weakness, for we do not even know how to pray as we ought.
    7. When Jesus died, the temple curtain was torn in two.
    8. Jesus himself is interceding for us. (Romans 8:34)

    You have gone on to say, “Once we have the assurance of forgiveness we can sing praise to God with gusto.”

    But doesn’t being a Christian mean living with and in this very assurance, with thanksgiving for that and for every other blessing? Can one not “sing praise to God with gusto” in a hymn of praise that might begin the Divine Service, and whenever and wherever corporate singing involves praises to the Almighty?

  5. These are great. We’ve had many positive responses from members and visitors alike. Could someone make one explaining closed communion???

  6. I’d like to order more of these, but the website doesn’t seem to offer them anymore. Any help?

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