Our congregation is a Lutheran congregation. We worship as Lutherans do. This means that first and foremost worship is about receiving the gifts of God for our benefit. These gifts include the Word of God, read, preached and taught as Law and Gospel. The Law to tell us what God requires of us to do and upon our reflection to know that we have not done as God has commanded. The Gospel to comfort and console the penitent – those sorry for their sins. The Gospel tells us of what God has done for us – in sending Christ Jesus to save us through His life, death, and resurrection. Our Worship will also do much to remind us of God’s work done for us in Holy Baptism. It will also strive to support the two highest points of the service for us – the reading of the Gospel lesson and chanting of the Words of Institution. The Lord’s Supper is a prominent fixture in our congregation’s worship as it is our Lord’s gift of Himself for us, as He gives His Body and Blood under the bread and wine for us Christians to eat and drink for the forgiveness of our sins.
Secondly worship means that we return thanks and praise for these gracious gifts. This happens in prayer, singing, and speaking God’s Word back to him. This is proper Christian worship which follows how God works to save us.
On a given Sunday (or Monday night), we will gather for worship and use our hymnal (Lutheran Service Book) to direct our worship. The hymnal has a lot of stuff in it. The Divine Services are there as the liturgy to follow for our main services. We use Divine Services 1, 3, and 4 from this hymnal and each is keyed to a certain time of the Church Year. The hymns of the Church are her confession and timeless song, and so at a service expect to sing some hymns. These hymns are a part of our praise in return for God’s gracious work, but they also teach us.
Many of our day would say that such “liturgical” or “traditional” worship is boring. This critique is not from God. The liturgy is mostly quotations of God’s Word or statements and songs that derive from God’s Word. A Christian is not bored with God’s Word. Besides this, the view that liturgical worship doesn’t change is actually quite ignorant of what liturgical worship is. Each Sunday the service order may stay the same, but the content changes dramatically. The hymns, prayers, lessons, psalms, and sermon change each week, and they make up the majority of the service. The repetition of things throughout the year and also as we pass from Church Year to Church Year is good also. The liturgy also serves a great purpose in teaching both young and old the faith. Repetition is still the mother of all learning. We learn by repeating things. The young parent struggling with spirited children during the service need not worry about keeping up with an every changing Sunday morning service. Instead, the parent and child learn through following the order each week. The older member struggling with their memory will have the treasure of the liturgy, its verses, songs, and prayers in their mind even when disease starts to take hold. A wise pastor once said that liturgical worship prepares us to die as Christians. As we look at heavenly worship in the Book of Revelation this pastor may have been onto something.