We are more alike than different, except that there are books written and endless conversations about different ways to worship. Many fine church going people like to squabble over best practices. I have been to plenty of evangelical worship services, and I have liked some of them, but I am not an expert on this kind of theology. What I do know is that when people hear the word liturgical or even “Lutheran” the eyes roll and might think B.O.R.I.N.G. I assure you, not all liturgical or Lutheran churches are boring, (Ask any “Rooter.”) I had a professor in seminary that said, “Christians are the only group of people I know who can make God boring.” He was speaking to reasons why people do not attend church. Immediately, one of my missions became to make church services thought provoking, interesting, and relevant.

Lutherans are liturgical, orthodox (traditional) in some sense. We follow a guideline for worship, which for many people is comforting. We think of it as a rhythm of worship, it feels life-giving. We welcome, and then remember who we are and whose we are through a communal confession and/or a remembrance of baptism, we pray, hear scripture read and preached, we sing, we come to the table for communion and then we bless and send. We essentially practice what we are called to do throughout the week. Liturgy is basically at the core understood as “the work of the people.” It is a communal service where God is heard through many voices, young and old across all the barriers of cultural constructs. 

Thomas O’Loughlin, author of, Rites and Wrongs of Liturgy, says this about liturgy and wonders:
“Liturgy is also where most people experience not only ‘the church’ but also ‘being church.’ When we gather for liturgy we are the church gathered in God’s presence, but does that come through to those making up the assembly? Do I feel that I am just a spectator; others are the actors? Did I appreciate that I was part of what was happening? It is all too easy for the experience to be one of accessing a commodity or of getting something done. ‘Being church’ is about identity: my having a sense of who I am as one of the baptized. ‘Being church’ is about relationships with the God who is rich in mercy and with others who form a redeemed people of sisters and brothers, and it is about hope and mission. God’s love transforms situations and calls on us to be agents of love and hope. I should come away energized, ready for a challenge, and empowered. But if I leave the gathering feeling alienated (‘They don’t want the likes of me’), or come away thinking that God is vindictive or has turned away from me, or that I am of little or no importance in the scheme of things, then the Good News has not been celebrated.”

I think more and more people are being drawn into liturgical churches because of the uplifting of their place in God’s created world. We each have the God spark in us, there are no mistakes made, each of us have a place and should be celebrated, no matter where you have been or where you are going, God loves you! Our lives are better together and being part of a faith community that joins together in the tears, fears, joys and celebrations of life, is how I imagine God created us to live.

- Noblesville’s Teri Ditslear is a pastor whose column appears Saturdays in The Times. Contact her at pastor@rolcommunity.com, on Facebook or at www.rolcommunity.com