Why the Liturgy (Part Four)

Image © José Luiz Bernardes Ribeiro / , via Wikimedia Commons

This week I once again share with you a reason for why I appreciate and love the historic liturgy of the Church as reflected in the Lutheran Tradition.

Up to this point I have shared with you the extensive use of Scripture in the liturgy, and how the liturgy allows for the full participation of all the worshipers in the public service.

This time around I want you to consider how the use of the Divine Service demonstrates our connection with other Christians and Congregations, both present and down through the ages. Truly we are a part of what we confess each Sunday, “the communion of saints”.

To be sure, each individual congregation is unique and distinctive. And were you to visit other congregations employing the historic liturgy, you would notice special characteristics that distinguish one congregation from another. There would be a diversity of expressions that would be enriching, and that would be reflective of the matchless personality of each community.

At the same time, in visiting each congregation you would not be hopelessly lost if they were guided by the liturgy. You would sense an important connection and sense of belonging, even a comforting familiarity. This conformity would in no wise erase the distinctive personality, but it would enhance your sense of being related.

An important part of being a member in Christ’s Church is to remember that an individual congregation is an expression of the universal Church, but not the whole of it. There is such a thing as the Una Sancta, that is, the “one holy” implying “the one holy catholic and apostolic Church”.

It is questionable that there is much of sense of the Una Sancta when we radically depart from any conformity at all, and only emphasize highly individualistic expressions. Departing radically from liturgical worship risks abandoning what would otherwise be a clear picture of our unity in Christ…

Since You Asked…

Why is the Triune Name of God repeated so frequently in our worship services?

The mystery of the Trinity is one of the most distinctive elements of our Christian Tradition. Christianity is not alone in claiming to be monotheistic (belief in one Supreme Being, one god). But Christianity holds that this One, True God has revealed himself to us as God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit. Scripture teaches that God the Father has revealed himself through God the Son and in God the Spirit. Only the Son can be seen, and only through the Spirit are we enabled to believe in the Father and the Son. And so we often invoke the name of the Triune God in the mystery of our faith.