Sunday, March 31, 2013

A New Series in our Church Bulletin

I've started a new feature in our church bulletin in order to get my writing output a bit more consistent.  My goal is to answer a question every week on "Why on Earth Do We Do That?"  In our church, we follow the Divine Service liturgy fairly consistently, usually swapping the musical setting with the change of liturgical season or every 6-8 weeks.  However, largely due to the strong presence and influence of evangelical sub-culture on our congregation, not many of our members understand why we worship they way we do.  I think we stand to benefit much more from worship if we have a deeper understanding of the reason for the traditions, what they mean and why we do them.  They are expressions of our Lutheran theology which direct our attention to Christ and frame our receiving of his grace through the Word and Sacrament ministry of the church.  So, in order to promote a fuller understanding of the worship tradition of the Lutheran church, the new bulletin series is entitled:  "Miguel's Musings:  A Lutheran Reader."  In it, I shall do 4 things:  After a "why on earth" question or two, I shall include an excerpt from the Lutheran Confessions.  Just a little paragraph or so, some food for thought.  I've found that many at Our Savior don't think they are actually Lutheran, but if you ask them theological questions, they often answer from a Lutheran perspective.  Conversely, some who do self identify as Lutherans hold very non-Lutheran theological views.  While I'm a fan, to a certain extent, of the "big tent" approach to fellowship, I strongly believe that informed disagreement is the best kind.  So I will include little blurbs each week, an easy to digest paragraph or so, in order to present a digestible morsel of the official teaching of our church and synod, in order that people might be encouraged to reflect on these things, whether or not they agree.  I happen to find Lutheran doctrine to be very persuasive and the best summary of the teachings of Scripture, and hope that others will come to see it that way as well.  Third, I will include the Issues Etc... bulletin blurb in order to direct the curious to an outstanding resource for going deeper.  And lastly, I'll refer them to this blog in order that those who have more questions have a forum to inquire, and those who disagree have a forum to push back.  I'm never one to back down from a theological dispute!  :P

And so, I present the first installment from this morning's Easter Sunday bulletin of "Miguel's Musings."

MIGUEL’s MUSINGS:  A Lutheran reader
Why On Earth Do We Do That?

What is the “Divine Service?”  Why do we follow this liturgy?

The “Divine Service” is the expression of the Lutheran understanding of worship.  In Matthew 20:28, Jesus says, “...the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.”  Jesus came to serve and to give.  We believe he still comes to do exactly that.  Jesus is a God who desires to shower us with his gifts of forgiveness, life, and salvation.  He serves us through the words of scripture and the proclamation of the Gospel.  He serves us His body and blood in the Lord’s Supper so that we can be certain that we have forgiveness of sin.  The order of the service is followed because we believe this ancient pattern of worship most clearly and beautifully serves this purpose.  We respond to this feast of His grace with thanks and praise, rejoicing in the fact that Christ himself is truly present with us.

Verses, everywhere!  Why does the bulletin have so many Bible references?

Colossians 3:16 says, “Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly…”  We believe that God’s own words are the best and most important for teaching and admonishing us in all wisdom.  Did you know that the Divine Service liturgy is over 90% scripture?  As we gather together to proclaim the Lord’s death until he returns, we express love for our Savior by cherishing to hear His words.  Psalm 119:130 says, “The unfolding of your words gives light; it imparts understanding to the simple.”  What better words could serve as the foundation of our worship?

From the Large Catechism:  We have no slight reasons for treating the Catechism so constantly and for both desiring and beseeching others to teach it, since we see to our sorrow that many pastors and preachers are very negligent in this, and slight both their office and this teaching; some from great and high art (giving their mind, as they imagine, to much higher matters), but others from sheer laziness and care for their paunches, assuming no other relation to this business than if they were pastors and preachers, for their bellies' sake, and had nothing to do but, to consume their emoluments as long as they live, as they have been accustomed to do under the Papacy.


  1. I am very excited to read your musings. At one who did not grow up in the Lutheran Church, I am always interested to learn more about how we worship and why.

    1. It will be good discipline for me to get in the habit of writing at least a litte bit on a weekly basis (minus the last two I was on vacation). Plus, with the influence that the Evangelical subculture and publishing industry wield on unsuspecting conservative Lutheran congregations, we can not afford to not be intentionally catechizing our laity in the tradition of our church, in order that they can understand why we do what we do. It's the practical side of "knowing what you believe and why you believe it." The generation that does not understand the Divine Service is followed by a generation that does not practice it.