+ We experience the Bible not as a relic stuck in time but as a living reality that inspires and sustains us.
+ The mysteries of the Sacraments—Eucharist and Baptism—bind us to Jesus and propel us into our communities to love and serve as Christ ourselves.
As worshipers, we are not spectators but full participants, employing all our human senses: seeing colors and movements all around us; hearing voices raised in song; feeling each others’ touch in the sharing of peace; tasting the bread and wine of Holy Communion, and smelling the clouds of incense on feast days. We move our bodies to the rhythm of these traditions—standing, sitting, kneeling, bowing, tracing the sign of the cross on our bodies.
Lutherans rejected some Roman Catholic practices, but not the Mass. This central liturgy—called the Holy Eucharist—has four parts: Gathering, Word, Communion, and Sending.
In the Gathering, we enter the church with reverence. At the opening hymn we stand and turn to face the cross as it is carried in procession through our midst.
After an opening greeting and prayers, we sit to hear readings from the Bible. Thus begins the liturgy’s second part, the Liturgy of the Word. A sermon follows, speaking God’s word into our midst.
A sharing of Christ’s peace with one another begins the third part, the Liturgy of Holy Communion. This is the central transcendent act of Christian worship: eating and drinking the bread and wine that become our spiritual food, the body and blood of Christ for us.
Refreshed and forgiven, this meal concludes with a Sending of God’s people into the world to accomplish works of peace and justice, and to serve others.
This is the same order of worship practiced by early Christians and still celebrated by churches around the world including Roman Catholics, Anglicans, and Lutherans.