Lutherans place great emphasis on a liturgical approach to worship services; although there are substantial non-liturgical minorities, for example, the Haugean Lutherans from Norway. Martin Luther was a great fan of music, and this is why it forms a large part of Lutheran services; in particular, Luther admired the composers Josquin des Prez and Ludwig Senfl and wanted singing in the church to move away from the ars perfecta (Catholic Sacred Music of the late Renaissance) and towards singing as a Gemeinschaft (community).
Lutheran hymns are sometimes known as chorales. Lutheran hymnody is well known for its doctrinal, didactic, and musical richness. Most Lutheran churches are active musically with choirs, handbell choirs, children's choirs, and occasionally carillon groups that ring bells in a bell tower. Johann Sebastian Bach, a devout Lutheran, composed music for the Lutheran church.
The Divine Service Edit
main article: Divine ServiceLutherans also preserve a liturgical approach to the celebration of the Mass (or the Holy Eucharist/Communion), emphasizing the sacrament as the central act of Christian worship. Lutherans believe that the actual body and blood of Jesus Christ are present in, with and under the bread and the wine. This belief is called Real Presence or sacramental union and is different from consubstantiation and transubstantiation. Additionally Lutherans reject the idea that communion is a mere symbol or memorial. They confess in the Apology of the Augsburg Confession:
"...we do not abolish the Mass but religiously keep and defend it. Among us the Mass is celebrated every Lord's Day and on other festivals, when the Sacrament is made available to those who wish to partake of it, after they have been examined and absolved. We also keep traditional liturgical forms, such as the order of readings, prayers, vestments, and other similar things." (Apology of the Augsburg Confession, Article XXIV.1)
The Liturgical Calendar Edit
main article: Liturgical CalendarThe Lutheran liturgical calendar is a listing which details the primary annual festivals and events that are celebrated liturgically by various Lutheran churches. The basic element to the calendar is Sunday, which is a festival of Jesus’ resurrection. However, Christian Churches have historically observed other festivals which commemorate events in the life of Jesus or of significant individuals in the history of the Church. The purpose of the liturgical calendar is to guide commemorations as a part of the daily worship of the Lutheran Church.
Other Liturgies and practices Edit
Besides the Holy Communion (Divine Service), congregations also hold offices, which are worship services without communion. They may include Matins, Vespers, Compline, and Easter Vigil. Private or family offices include the Morning and Evening Prayers from Luther's Small Catechism. Meals are blessed with the Common Table Prayer, Psalm 145:15–16, or other prayers, and after eating the Lord is thanked, for example, with Psalm 136:1. In addition, Lutherans use devotional books, from small daily devotionals, for example, "Portals of Prayer" by C.F.W. Walther, to large breviaries, including the Breviarium Lipsiensae and Treasury of Daily Prayer.