Ceremony and Celebration

“You shall keep my Sabbaths and reverence my sanctuary: I am the Lord." Leviticus 19:30

Our Lord calls us to keep his Sabbath. As God’s people we share sabbath rest in Christ as we gather to worship in Spirit and in truth. We reverence his holy place as we seek our Savior and hear his word together! In our worship there is both ceremony and there is celebration as we enter the presence of our God. The sound of the bell toll calls us to meditate before the Lord as we prepare for the holy moment to come. We rise to sing our King’s praises and then mark

ourselves with the sign of his cross at the speaking of his name. After this we fall to our knees to confess and then to hear the pardon for sin that our Lord alone can give!

As human beings we express things with words and also with actions. So ceremonies are important in our service of worship and may aid in our celebration. A physical gesture or even the posture of a person in worship might indicate, direct and perhaps even assist in expressing reverent devotion. Think, for example, of the practice of kneeling with others at the communion rail in the presence of our Lord. This action may express inner reverence and devotion. Will this action at the very least remind one of the honor due the Lord who is present in this holy moment?

Ceremony has been a part of Christian worship from the beginning. In the time of the Reformation the historic Lutheran Confessions speak of the use of ceremony in the worship

celebration in ord