theology of lutheran worship
What Is the Divine Service?
A typical definition of Christian worship goes something like this:
“Worship is our act of devotion and sacrifice. We open ourselves up and express ourselves before God and wait on Him to send us His Holy Spirit. The music in worship helps us ‘get lost in God’ so that we can truly experience Him…”
Well, this definition might sound good, especially in a world of individuals where individualISM seems to be the most important in life. Individual freedom, individual choice, individual dignity, etc. seem to rule hearts and minds…and politics.
But, Christian worship is not based in individuality! Fundamental to the faith is the reality that God, first and foremost, is the actor. He is the subject, the initiator, the Creator, the giver. In turn, WE, the children of God, are the recipients, the beneficiaries of His gracious actions and gifts.
Confessional Lutheran worship is distinct in that we don’t first look into or at ourselves or our actions, but the first thing we do is call upon our Lord to come into our presence and provide for us.
Christians are mere beggars before the Lord. And God is not interested in a song and dance from His Church.
Lutheran worship is all about God coming to us in Word and Sacrament, coming to hear our confession, forgive our sins, enliven our hearts, and fill us with His Spirit.
ALL we can do is…respond. We can only do what broken people, reliant on Jesus and His righteousness, can do: thank and praise Him, serve and obey Him. This is why we call the worship service the “Divine Service,” because God is coming to us to serve us!