Luther and Worship

Worship is where the Holy Ghost leads us to ask for the our sin to be forgiven.  The reformers wrote that: This worship is the highest worship of Christ. Nothing greater could be ascribe to Christ. To seek from Him the remission of sins was truly to acknowledge the Messiah. Now, thus to think of Christ, thus to worship Him, thus to embrace Him, is truly to believe.*   Luther made very few changes in the medieval Latin Mass which is confessed; we do not abolish the Mass, but religiously maintain and defend it. For among us masses are celebrated every Lord’s Day and on the other festivals, in which the Sacrament is offered to those who wish to use it, after they have been examined and absolved. And the usual public ceremonies are observed, the series of lessons, of prayers, vestments, and other like things.   He retained the use of the Latin language with which; … we mingle with it German hymns, in order that the people also may have something to learn, and by which faith and fear may be called forth. This custom has always existed in the churches. For although some more frequently, and others more rarely, introduced German hymns, nevertheless the people almost everywhere sang something in their own tongue. [Therefore, this is not such a new departure.]**

Cross at Mission San Jose, San Antonio, Texas

Unfortunately, most Sunday gatherings are more representative of overhaul of the Mass that was made by the radical progressives, Calvin, Zwingli and the enthusiasts.  These radicals ‘threw out all traditional services and substituted spiritualism for Word and Gospel.’***   This has lead to a cacophonous mixture that strains the definition of worship to its breaking point.  Completely lost is the basis for reforming the church.

Returning to the source of the reformation would be a start.  Again, not to necessarily reinstate Luther’s Mass directly, but to look to it as a guide for our current worship.  A return of order and discipline in worship would encourage the use of the what is good, beautiful and true.  This should include the use of elements of worship that have been developed in all times and in various places.  Here is a place for modern hymns and other forms that are theocentric and not simply rebellious.

SDG


* Triglot Concordia: The Symbolical Books of the Evangelical Lutheran Church: German-Latin-English.  (St. Louis: Concordia Publishing House, 1921).  AP IV II 33.

** Triglot Concordia. AP XXIV 1

*** Triglot Concordia. AP XXIV 3-5

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