The Matins worship at Waterloo North Mennonite Church is an adaptation of the ancient tradition of liturgical worship, which includes singing, numerous responsive readings, litanies, times of silence and a homily. In the traditional Christian disciplines of prayer “matins” was the name of the first prayer of the day. Originally, matins were said at midnight, in later years they were said at daybreak. At Waterloo North Mennonite Church “matins” is the first worship service of the day. The passages from the Revised Common Lectionary are read at each service.
The Matins worship service is offered from September through May, starting at 8:30 am on Sunday.Learn more about Matins
Guide to Matins Worship
at Waterloo North Mennonite Church
The Matins worship at Waterloo North Mennonite Church is an adaptation of the ancient tradition of liturgical worship that our Anabaptist forbears turned away from in the fifteenth century. In the face of ecclesiastical abuses of the time the Anabaptists sought a renewed spiritual relationship with God and a life truly aligned with the example and teaching of Jesus in the New Testament.
In Matins we seek, in the context of 21st Century Anabaptism, the riches of the liturgical style of worship that we left behind over 450 years ago. We seek a closer relationship with God by approaching the presence of God in The Word. The Word of God in Scripture is the focus of our worship. When we hear the Word of God we are in the presence of God.
The regular practice of worship leads to a life-giving relationship with God. As we listen to the Word of God, spoken and in silence, we absorb the good news of Christ into the depths of our hearts. “Worship assures us, at a deep affective level, that Jesus has already conquered evil and brought the joy of his kingdom to life” (Christian Theology: Volume 2, Thomas Finger). In worship the Holy Spirit changes us, moulds us more fully into the body of Christ for our world.
The word “liturgy” is the translation of a Latin term which literally means “work of the people”. Worship is the work of the people of God, not the work of worship leaders to be enjoyed by an audience. Worship is our sabbath “work” that shapes our day to day work in the world.
In the traditional Christian disciplines of prayer “matins” was the name of the first prayer of the day. Originally, matins were said at midnight, in later years they were said at daybreak. At Waterloo North Mennonite Church “matins” is the first worship service of the day.
There are silent spaces in the worship to allow for reflection on what has happened or been said. Sometimes the experience needs to “soak in”. The vision is that we will be able to learn repeated parts of the liturgy by heart so that we can leave paper behind and pay closer attention to the truth behind the words.
There is a modest and essential place in every liturgical celebration for human rhetoric, but it is a modest place, subordinate to the proclamation of the word of God in scripture, subordinate to the symbolic action of the whole assembly. … A celebration of the reign of God goes way beyond the pedagogical exercises we sometimes try to make of it… into a large, broad, fully human landscape, where Jesus is truly the firstborn of a new humanity and where our liturgical tools…penetrate the Babel of our words and points and arguments to heal the human spirit and raise it up in the covenant community’s vision of new possibilities. (excerpts from “Vesting of Liturgical Ministers” by Robert Hovda in Worship March 1980
Through silent meditation and through the music of the prelude we prepare ourselves – heart, soul, mind and body to hear the Word of God. We arrive before the start of worship to prepare so we are ready to begin at the opening of the Bible.
The Christ Candle
The lighted candle symbolizes the presence of the Light of Christ in whose name we gather.
Opening the Bible
The opening of the Bible signals the beginning of worship. The Bible is the written Word of God. We gather in the presence of God to hear God’s voice.
The congregation is welcomed into God’s presence by the worship leader.
The invocation declares that we are in the presence of God, standing on holy ground.
Praise is a natural and appropriate response to beholding God’s glory as the divine presence is invoked.
We begin our praise in song. Song is the language of the heart. In song we open ourselves completely to God’s presence.
Both are inadequate: our speech and our silence. Yet there is a level which goes beyond both: the level of song. (Quest for God, Joshua Abraham Heschel)
Our praise includes a prayer of Thanksgiving because gratitude is the beginning of praise, a Psalm because the Book of Psalms is the biblical book of praise and lament. Our praise culminates with the recitation of the ancient doxology “Glory be to the Father”.
After praising God, we enter confession. In confession we acknowledge our need for salvation, our hunger for God’s healing and hope.
In manageable doses we let go of our illusions of perfection or self-sufficiency and risk opening ourselves to transformation. For a few brief moments each week, we cast aside our bravado and speak the humble truth that before God all our righteousness is as filthy rags (Is. 64:6) (“What if we didn’t save our dying until the end?” by Marlene Kropf)
We end our confession by singing Kyrie, Eleison (Lord, have mercy), a prayer that has come to us from the early Christian church.
Assurance of Forgiveness
The assurance of forgiveness declares God’s faithful response to our confession. After hearing the words of assurance of forgiveness we are restored in our relationship with God and ready to hear God’s Word.
When we pass the peace of Christ we share the joy of a restored relationship with God.
Listening to God’s Word
The Word of God is the centre of our worship. We hear The Word, once made flesh, spoken again and anew. When we hear the Word we are in the very presence of God.
In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. All things came into being through the Word and without the Word not one thing came into being. (John 1:1)
A short time of silence after each reading allows us to absorb the reading.
We stand to greet the Gospel in respect, anticipation and excitement at hearing the Good News. We greet the Gospel with a sung Alleluia, except during the penitential season of Lent when we do not sing “alleluia” in keeping with the more sombre mood of the season.
The Homily is a meditation on the Word. It can be a personal reflection or a prophetic message for the gathered community. It helps us to understand more deeply, and helps the Word soak deeper into our hearts.
We respond immediately to the Word with a hymn. In truth, our whole lives are our response to the Word.
Prayers of the People
Now that we have listened to God’s word we boldly claim Jesus’ promise (Mt. 7:7; Lk 11:9) that we can approach God to voice our concerns and petitions. We lift them into God’s presence.
We begin our time of prayer by the worship leader naming particular prayers from the life of the congregation and by speaking aloud our personal prayers. There are spaces throughout the prayer for silent prayer.
We follow a repetitive pattern of prayer so that our focus does not need to be on “what’s coming next?” Our focus can be on the petitions and longings of our hearts.
In the prayer of empathy we begin by turning to the words of the liturgy. At first the words and their meaning seem to lie beyond the horizon of the mind. The experience of prayer does not come all at once. It grows in the face of the word that comes ever more to light in its richness, buoyancy and mystery. (Quest for God, A. J. Heschel)
Affirmation of Faith
Near the end of our worship we join with the universal church in an affirmation of faith. Regular worship is a weekly renewal of our faith. We vary the affirmation that is read from season to season.
Faith in Action
In addition to speaking an affirmation of faith, from time to time we have stories (testimonies) from members of the congregation about how their faith has been lived out and put into practice.
The sending hymn and benediction encourage and bless the congregation as we leave the place of worship and return to the world in which we serve.
Offering is an act of stewardship, an act of sharing with others what we have received from God’s bountiful hand. As we leave our time of worship we symbolically share in the world The Word that we have received.
This is a mix of traditional and contemporary Mennonite worship style. It is reverent, yet casual, relaxed and with some spontaneity. We sing a variety of hymn styles, new and old, and we prefer to sing in four part harmony. A segment of the worship time is geared for children. A staffed nursery for infants to age 4 is provided.
Worship from September through May usually starts at 10:45 am on Sunday, with some exceptions.
During the month of June, worship is a single service at 9:30 am, which features rites of passage, and one Sunday will be an off-location church picnic. Please check home page for details.
We blend elements of the Matins format and our standard worship style during the summer months.
Blended worship is offered from July through Labour Day, and starts at 9:30 am.
These worship service are “single” services (only one offered that Sunday), and feature holiday themes such as, Good Friday, Easter, Christmas Eve or other important events in our church, including: baptism; rites of passage; Gathering Sunday, etc.
Check our weekly updates to see when this type of service is scheduled, and worship time varies.
Periodically, we offer a contemplative worship service which is mostly a time for silent meditation.
Check our weekly updates to see when this type of service is scheduled, and worship time varies.