The Lutheran Church is a denomination of Christianity that has a long and rich history. It is known for its emphasis on the Word of God, its confession of faith, and its sacraments. If you are considering attending a Lutheran church service, it is important to understand what to expect. The part of the service dedicated to the Word focuses on reading the Word of God, using biblical lessons from the Old Testament, the Psalms, the New Testament Letters and the Gospels.
There are usually three readings plus a psalm that is sung or read. During this time, it is common for members of the congregation to make the sign of the cross as a visible reminder of their faith. Confession and absolution are also important parts of Lutheran services. This is an opportunity for members of the congregation to confess their sins and receive absolution from God.
The act of confession is not a work that we present before the Father's throne; rather, it is the simple recognition that the Word of God is true and correct and that, when compared to its requirements, we fall short. The Lutheran Church of North America has made a significant contribution to the church's liturgy through the alternative hymn of worship, “This Is the Feast”. This confession of the Triune God is not the property of any individual, but of the entire church, including the entire company of heaven. There are more than a few saints and martyrs who risked their lives defending the truths we confess in the creeds.
When Jesus comes riding among us in the name of the Lord, Heaven breaks into our world. This confession in the Sanctus of the real presence of Jesus is so significant that Luther proposed placing it after the Words of Institution to highlight its importance. The Book of Lutheran Services contains a lot of information about our confession of faith. Lutheran worship services are very conversational in nature, in which both God (through the pastor) and people speak, using words that God himself gives.
Much of our worship service is simply verses from the Word of God pronounced by God or for God. In more recent times, Lutherans have found great value in resources such as The Nairobi Declaration on Worship and Culture from The Lutheran World Federation. Throughout the Divine Service, God is forming us in his likeness by establishing in us a deeper and more lasting faith in him and a persistent and firm love for one another. As long as the word and sacrament exist, according to our confession, “it is not necessary for true unity in the church that uniform ceremonies be observed everywhere”.
Lutherans and other Christians have also long sought to balance Christian unity with human diversity in worship through words like The Apostles' Creed, The Lord's Prayer, and words spoken at baptism and communion. The Lutheran emphasis on the priesthood of all believers (the members of Christ's body who offer their various gifts in sacred service) can be found in intergenerational approaches to worship that invite everyone to come as they are. For example, some congregations provide child-friendly areas or activities during services. Finally, Lutherans refer to sacraments as “means of grace” - ways in which God in Jesus Christ is present through materials, words and human actions that offer us his grace. Living Lutheran is an opportunity for church members to express their individual perspectives while still recognizing official positions taken by The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America. In conclusion, attending a Lutheran church service can be an incredibly meaningful experience for those who are looking for an opportunity to connect with God through prayer and worship. By understanding what to expect from such services beforehand, you can ensure that you get the most out of your experience.