There are many reasons that the Lutheran Church worships according to a liturgy. In this article, I would like to consider ten:
1. The liturgy shows the church’s historic roots. Some parts of the liturgy go back to the time of the Apostles and the life of the early Christian church. Even they did not start with a blank slate but adapted and reformed the liturgy of the Jewish synagogue. The liturgy as it appears in the various orders of service in our Lutheran hymnal, Lutheran Service Book (pp.151-267), is adapted from liturgical forms used throughout the history of the Christian church. As Lutherans we were not the first Christians and we will probably not be the last. The race of faith is a relay race, one generation handing on (“traditioning”) to the next the faith once delivered to the saints. The historic liturgy underscores and highlights this fact.
2. The liturgy serves as a distinguishing mark. What we believe determines how we worship, and how we worship confesses what we believe.
3. The liturgy is both “God-centered” (Theocentric) and “Christ-centered” (Christocentric). From the invocation of the Triune name in remembrance of Baptism to the three-fold benediction at the end, the liturgy is focused on the activity of the Triune God centered in the person and work of Jesus Christ. Worship is not primarily about “me” or “we” but about God in Christ reconciling the world to himself and our inclusion in his saving work through baptism.
4. The liturgy teaches. It teaches all of God’s work for us—creation, redemption, sanctification, Christ’s incarnation, passion, resurrection, reign, and the Holy Spirit’s outpouring and the new life of faith. Every liturgical year cycles through these themes so that the hearer receives the “whole work of God” on a regular basis.