What is Worship
with eager thankfulness and praise. Music is drawn into this thankfulness and praise, enlarging and elevating the adoration of our gracious giver God. Saying back to him what he has said to us, we repeat what is most true and sure. The rhythm of our worship is from him to us, and then from us back to him. He gives his gifts, and together we receive and extol them. We build one another up as we speak to one another in psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs. Our Lord gives us his body to eat and his blood to drink. Finally his blessing moves us out into our calling, where his gifts have their fruition. (Lutheran Worship, p. 6)

Worship is first of all an activity of the Triune God - Father, Son and Holy Spirit. Those who worship the Father do so in Spirit and in Truth (Jn 4:23). The Spirit works through the preached Word and the sacraments to deliver Jesus Christ, who is the Way, the Truth and the Life, making us children of our heavenly Father through the death and resurrection of Jesus. For this reason, Lutherans refer to worship as "Divine Service" or literally "God's Service" (from the German Gottesdienst). God serves us with His gifts; we in turn serve God as His priests with our sacrificial lives of prayer and praise where He has called us to serve Him.

This serving activity of God in our midst, which delivers Jesus Christ for us and for our salvation, defies such categories as "traditional" and" contemporary." The Liturgy is as "contemporary"- here and now, where we are - as it is "traditional," delivering the same Jesus (Heb 13:8), the same forgiveness of sins, and proclaiming His same death until He comes (1 Cor. 11:23-26). Because it is the Lord who is serving us in the Liturgy, we speak most faithfully of worship when we speak of the Lord's gifts, rather than of our embellishments or of the particular kind of utensils being used, whether modern or antique. The "Service of the Word" delivers the preached Word; the "Divine Service" delivers with the preached Word the gift of Christ's body and blood in the Holy Supper.

The goal of worship is not that people exclaim, "What a lovely service!" but rather, "What a wonderful Saviour!"