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There Is No Point to the Mission of the Church if the Liturgy of Her Lord Is Altered

This article by Rev. Rick Stuckwisch, pastor of Emmaus Lutheran Church in South Bend, IN, comes with my hightest recommendation. Pr. Stuckwisch writes:

The form and adornment of the Liturgy have developed in various ways throughout the Church's history, but its basic integrity must always be guarded and maintained. That is to say, the preaching of the Holy Scriptures of the Prophets and Apostles as fulfilled in Christ Jesus, and the administration of His Holy Supper with His Word in accordance with His institution, are ever and always to be the central, controlling, decisive, and definitive factors. The preaching of Christ is always leading to the celebration of His Holy Sacrament, and the administration of His Sacrament always includes the faithful preaching of His Word unto repentance and faith.

The Liturgy is the Ministry of the Gospel of Christ. It is what He does and gives and carries out through His servants for His Church, according to His Word and promises. It is what constitutes the very Life of the Church as the Body of Christ. It therefore also prompts the preaching and confessing of Christ to the world, even as it provides the content of that witness.

The Church worships her Lord Jesus Christ, first of all, by hearing and receiving the Liturgy of His Gospel in faith and with thanksgiving, and so also by confessing and praying His Word in response to Him and to the praise of His Holy Name, and by living in love with one another in Him. When these holy things are replaced with marketing strategies, gimmicks, entertainment, social events, or appeals to human emotions and worldly appetites, then the entire point has been lost. It is no longer the Church, the Body of Christ, but an exercise in self-promotion.

To meddle with the Liturgy for the sake of missions is inherently a self-defeating tactic. For it is not the mission of the Church that determines or drives the Liturgy, but the Liturgy drives and determines the mission of the Church.

The goal and purpose of the Church's mission is to bring the nations into the Liturgy of the Lamb upon His Throne in the midst of His people, on earth even now as it is and ever shall be in heaven forever. The Church baptizes in the Name of the Lord and catechizes with the Word of Christ for the sake of bringing people to feast upon His Holy Supper as Christian disciples, that is, with repentance and faith in His Word. So, if the celebration of the Lord's Supper is compromised, marginalized, degraded, or removed from the gathering of His people, then whatever attempts are being made to bring people into the "church" are pointless, because the very Life of the Church has been forsaken and let go in favor of something else altogether.

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