The Proclamation of the Word

The Proclamation of the Word is listing to readings from the Bible and a sermon and responding with a confession of faith and prayers.

The basis of Christian life and worship is the Bible. It is a library of books that is divided into two parts, the Old Testament and the New Testament. The Hebrew Bible is the Old Testament and the church wrote the New Testament and it has Gospels, 4 books talking about the life of Jesus on earth, and letters written to the early church. We believe that God speaks to us through the stories and sayings in scripture.

The Proclamation of the Word normally is a reading from the Old Testament, psalm, epistle (Latin for letter) and Gospel, sermon, confession of faith, Prayers of the People, Confession and Peace. To shorten the service, some readings and the confession of faith may not be read. The congregation reads the psalm out loud. Psalms are from the Old Testament and reprinted in the BAS or BCP. People sit to listen to the readings except for the Gospel, which people stand for.

The psalm and readings are chosen from a schedule of readings called a lectionary. The Anglican Church uses the Revised Common Lectionary, which the Lutheran, Roman Catholic and United Churches also use.

The priest will give a talk called a sermon or homily, which is based on the readings and attempts to relate what the scriptures are saying to everyday life and the concerns of the congregation.

People then stand and say either the Nicene or Apostles’ Creed. This is called the confession of faith and is the congregation’s response to the scriptures and sermon. A church council at Constantinople in 381 A. D. wrote the Nicene Creed. The Apostles’ Creed was used as a baptismal confession in the early church, and its present form dates from the 4th century A.D..

Next comes the Prayers of the People. The Prayers of the People are part of the work of the church, asking God to help in particular situations and with particular people. God is thanked for the blessings received. Often a book is located where people enter that they can write requests for prayer, which will be included in the Prayers of the People.

A general Confession is said, normally people are asked to kneel, followed by the absolution and, in the BAS, the peace. The bishop or priest gives the absolution, which is the declaration of forgiveness in Jesus’ name.

For the peace, people stand and shake hands with each other; in some cases exchange hugs. The peace symbolizes several things. As it follows the confession and absolution, it symbolizes reconciliation between people. It also symbolizes greeting Christ in each person and the fellowship in heaven.