Invocation

After the hymn of invocation, the Divine Service begins with invocation of the Triune Name of God (Matthew 28:19). "In the name of the Father and of the Son (+) and of the Holy Spirit." (Lutheran Worship, p. 136). We stand in the presence of a Mystery: three Persons with one Name, one Name with three Persons. Divine service is the activity and service of the Triune God. It is in His Name, not ours. We do not "make our beginning” in His Name. Rather, we invoke the Lord's Name to say that we have been gathered by Him according to His bidding and promise. We claim all that His Name promises and delivers. The holy Name of God makes this gathering unlike any other gathering in the world.

Worship is located where the Lord has caused His Name to dwell (Exodus 20:24). In the Old Testament, it was located in the Most Holy Place of the tabernacle and the temple. Where the Lord's Name is, there is forgiveness and prayer (1 Kings 9:27-30). In the New Testament, worship is located where Jesus Christ has promised to be present for us in His Word and Sacrament (Matthew 18:20). The church of Pentecost understood this as it gathered about the preached Word and the Lord's Supper (Acts 2:42).

When the Triune Name is invoked, it is proper for the baptized to trace the sign of the cross, as the Small Catechism teaches. "In the morning when you arise, in the evening when you lie down, make the sign of the holy cross and say, 'In the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, Amen.'" In Western Christianity, the sign of the cross is made by touching forehead, breast, left shoulder, and right shoulder. No verbal embellishment of this gesture is necessary. With the sign of the cross, we recall our Baptism, where we were marked by the cross of Christ as sheep of the Good Shepherd’s flock (Romans 6:4).

Holy Baptism brings us into the church. The Name of God draws us into the service of His gifts.