Lutheran Worship, Prt 2
Dear Members and Friends at Trinity Evangelical Lutheran Church,
Back in the 5th century AD a theologian named Prosper of Aquitaine made popular the saying, “The law of worshiping founds the law of believing (In Latin, because it sounds cool, “Lex orandi, Lex credendi.”). The idea is that the way the church worships leads the people into a right belief.
There is no doubt a connection between believing and worshipping. What we believe as a confessional congregation should shape how we worship. In turn, how we worship reinforces and teaches what we believe. The worship services teaches (hopefully) right belief.
This connection between doctrine and worship explains why churches worship the way they do. This is important. Differences in the worship service often reflect differences in belief.
In some churches, the people find evidence that they are Christians by their emotion during worship. Even more common is that some churches perceive the Holy Spirit is working in the church service by how they feel. As a friend said to me after we attended a special event in his church together, “I know the Spirit was working ‘cause I could feel the tingle up my spine.”
How does that belief effect worship? The worship service must become a vehicle to produce the proper emotions. In our day it seems that the emotion must be high and happy. In other times, weeping and mourning were common emotions one could expect.
Hence in some congregations at the front of the nave was the “mourners bench.” This was a bench where one could come to the proper conviction and sorrow before being saved or a backslider repenting.
Lutheran belief affects Lutheran worship, and Lutheran worship effects Lutheran belief as well. We value what has come before us knowing that we stand on the shoulders of earlier Christians. Thus, we have not thrown out liturgical worship but let it be shaped from age to age.
We believe our greatest need is for forgiveness and that Jesus’ primary work was that of Savior. We never outgrow grace. We believe the proof of the Spirit’s work is the presence of the Word and Sacraments. We believe what God gives us is much more important than the praise we give Him. Thus our service centers around the Word & Sacraments, our worship is Trinitarian and Christ centered, our liturgy is rooted in the Scripture.