At New Life Ithaca, our worship is liturgical and sacramental, with a heavy emphasis on reading and hearing God’s Word. Our music is both ancient and modern, with hymns and songs from the ancient church up to the present day. Every service features an expository sermon, where a pastor explains a Bible passage and applies it to our lives.
The word liturgy comes from the Greek language and literally means, “the work of the people” Liturgical worship is active and participatory. At New Life we read scripture, pray, confess our sins and proclaim our faith corporately, out loud, together as one people. Liturgical worship is a conversation between the congregation and God: God speaking to us and we responding to Him. Liturgical worship is full of Scripture. We read passages of scripture, we pray scripture, and we speak scripture to each other. There is nothing more biblical than liturgical worship.
Reconciliation > Word > Sacrament
Liturgical worship follows a basic three-part movement of reconciliation, word, and sacrament. First we confess our sins and are reconciled to God, then we hear God’s word, then we participate in the sacrament of the Lord’s Supper. Each week when we gather together we move through this basic order of worship as a way to give us a spiritual reset, instruction, and nourishment, so that we are equipped to do the things that God has called us to do.
Our worship at New Life Ithaca is also sacramental, meaning that the flow of the service moves toward the celebration of the sacrament of the Lord’s Supper as the climax of our worship each week. Through the sacred meal that early Christians called “The Eucharist,” from the Greek for “to give thanks,” God blesses us through the giving and receiving of bread and wine by the power of the Holy Spirit. The Lord’s Supper is not a bare remembrance, but a means of grace that God uses to bless believers. When we partake of the bread and wine, we, somehow, feed on the body and blood of Christ, not physically, but mystically and spiritually. Christ’s body and blood nourishes and feeds our souls, and through it God gives us exactly what our souls need. This is why every service at New Life culminates with the reception of Holy Communion.
Biblical preaching is central to our worship at New Life. Every week you will hear a passage of the Bible explained by an experienced preacher who will also apply God’s word to your life. The Christian Message is powerless outside of God’s revealed word. It is his divine instruction to us that gives anything we do, say, or believe its power. In Hebrews 4:12 it says, “For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart.” The Psalmist writes, “Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path,” (Ps. 119:105). St. Paul writes, “All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work,” (2 Tim. 3:16-17). For this reason, our preachers do not merely share their own opinions, spiritual guidance, or wisdom, but read and explain the powerful Word of God to us each week.
Music Ancient and Modern
At New Life we love the ancient hymns of the Church, and you will sing some of these when you visit. But we also sing songs that are newer and closer to modern musical conventions. This is often called, blended worship. We are not stuck on only singing ancient hymns or only singing modern worship music, but incorporating the best, most applicable, and most beautiful music that we can find. Our music at New Life is also congregationally driven. We don’t perform songs to be heard. Our musicians and vocalists lead the congregation in singing. If you come visit New Life, you will sing!