How Lutheran Churches Worship

In Lutheran services, pastors and congregations sing or pronounce the liturgy back and forth or together. Congregational hymn singing has always been a hallmark of Lutheran worship. Lutherans believe that worship isn't so much about what we do, but about what God does for us. We simply respond with prayer and praise to the God who descends to our level.

Lutheran worship is not focused on how we feel, but on how God comes to us. We consider it a treasure, as it is the closest we are to heaven on earth, because God is there, forgiving us, speaking to us, listening to us and nourishing us, preparing us to worship him in the world with the gift of our lives. Great Lutheran composers such as Bach and Mendelssohn have written prolifically for their churches. The traditional clothing of German Lutherans when officiating in the sanctuary was not that of “darkness and darkness”, but rather the festive clothing of the historic church over the centuries.

Lutheran reformers gladly identified themselves with the best elements of the Eastern Christian tradition and were not afraid to include those elements in their confessions. The Lutheran Church recognizes that the Word of God has not obliged Christians to any specific form or liturgical ceremony (beyond the Means of Grace instituted by God) and that all churches are free to modify or change their practices. When confessional Lutheranism is allowed to assume its natural form in a Byzantine context, it will naturally derive or adapt its liturgical texts, musical styles, artistic representations, and ceremonial expressions from the Byzantine rite tradition, in accordance with solid reformational principles. Therefore, Strickland said, the role of sending to worship is not to emphasize a strict dichotomy between the church and the world, between inside and outside, or between “us and them”.

With regard to human-made practices, Lutherans are taught that those uses that can be observed without sin and that contribute to peace and good order in the church should be observed. The evangelical ceremonies used in the Lutheran Church serve to highlight and draw attention to several aspects of the evangelical message of the Liturgy. Because Lutheran services are held in many different languages, cultures, and countries, it is inevitable that there will be variations in expressions and styles of worship. They observed these human rites because they were helpful in maintaining order, because they gave people a fixed time to meet, because they set an example of how all things could be done decently and in order in churches and, finally, because they helped to instruct ordinary people.

The Lutheran Church is a liturgical church, but its various branches are not required to adhere to the rubrics of any particular rite. Lutherans are always dedicated to re-translating and retelling the language of church worship so that it is more accessible to a wide variety of people. As communities of faith worship through meetings, words, meals and shipments, Strickland emphasized that “worship can be incredibly Lutheran, while being culturally and contextually appropriate and using the gifts of the people in their space.