John Calvin's Genevan Liturgy

This week I came across the liturgy John Calvin used in Geneva in 1542.  If you attend our church you will notice that his liturgy is not too different from our own.  Why?  Well, not because we're trying to copy Calvin or idolize the past or somehow bring Geneva here.  Rather, it is similar because this form of worship has stood the test of time, proving itself sound, biblical, edifying, and glorifying to God for centuries.  Indeed, while our worship must be understandable and relevant to our culture, we also must not forget that the fundamental needs of mankind have not changed, nor has the glorious essence of our triune God.  Therefore, if our worship service hasn't changed all that much in 467 years - perhaps its for the better. The 1542 Geneva Liturgy

  • Assembly
  • Opening Sentence
  • Confession of Sin
  • The Ten Commandments (sung)
  • Psalm (sung)
  • Word
  • Collection for Illumination
  • Lesson and Sermon
  • Prayer of Intercession
  • Apostle's Creed (sung)
  • Meal
  • The Lord's Supper
  • Prayer of Thanksgiving
  • Psalm (sung) or Song of Simeon (sung)
  • Sending
  • Offering for the Poor
  • Blessing

This week we will be using a "confession of sin" adapted from Calvin's liturgy.

Lord God, eternal and almighty Father: We acknowledge before your holy majesty that we are poor sinners, conceived and born in guilt and in corruption, prone to do evil, unable of our own power to do good. Because of our sin, we endlessly violate your holy commandments. But, O Lord, with heartfelt sorrow we repent and turn away from all our offenses. We condemn ourselves and our evil ways, with true sorrow asking that your grace will relieve our distress. Have compassion on us, most gracious God, Father of mercies, for the sake of your son Jesus Christ our Lord. And in removing our guilt, also grant us daily increase of the grace of your Holy Spirit, and produce in us the fruits of holiness and of righteousness pleasing in your sight: Through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.