Full Text for Lutheran Worship 2- Volume 51 - How is faith related to the worship that God seeks? (Video)

ROUGHLY EDITED COPY LUTHERAN WORSHIP 2 51.LW2 Captioning provided By: Caption First, Inc. P.O. Box 1924 Lombard, IL 60148 ******** This text is being provided in a rough draft format. Communication Access Realtime Translation (CART) is provided in order to facilitate communication accessibility and may not be a totally verbatim record of the proceedings. ******** >> JOSHUA: Hello, Dr. Brauer. My name is Joshua and my ministry is as far from Los Angeles as it is possible to imagine. I live in rural eastern Wyoming, and nearly every one of my congregation members works on a ranch or in a store that sells to ranchers. And prior to what I'm doing now, I too was a rancher. In fact, I still mix the work of the ranch with my ministry. All of us are enjoying this course of study, and we look forward to your being with us to respond to some questions. I would like to follow up on Nick's question with this one: How is faith related to the worship that God seeks? >> DR. JAMES BRAUER: Joshua, I understand where you're coming from in Wyoming. I was born in the ranch part of Colorado. And I can still see the great sky that's in that part of the world. Faith is related to worship in a way we've already described. But people often wonder about this when they see us using forms. How is that inner act of faith related to the outward things that are going on? So this ritual and form that is used is kind of a natural thing. We're going to use form. We can't do without it. Everyone uses form, even my Pentecostal Christian friends generate a form, whether they have it beforehand or not, it ends up to be a form and a sequence of things. It's that sequence that we can talk about. The form or the rite or the ritual or the liturgy is a very useful thing. Think about how you celebrate a birthday. A birthday, as I've seen it with my three-year-old, six-year-old grandchildren, is really important. It's really important to have certain features. No one feels as though they had their birthday celebrated unless you sing the appropriate song. If you don�t bring a cake out with a flame on it and kids get to try to blow it out. And I notice the youngsters aren't actually able to do this, so they need considerable adult help. It's a big F when my three-year-old grandson does it. This kind of ritual is not the center of it; it's that the family really gathers and says happy birthday to him. But we use these tools as a way to make the event. Likewise, in the United States, all kinds of rituals are put around sports events. Now, we have the Super Bowl Sunday. You know what the ritual is. Usually, in the home where the TV is going to be watched, you need plenty to eat, plenty to drink, a group of friends, and you look for a place in which to do this which has the largest television screen. Now, my son who has such friends with big television screens knows how to make these arrangements. I just use the small screen at my house. And then what you see on television is ritualized. There's a pre-game show, and on that day, it's the ultimate pre-game show. It�s probably going on for hours. Now think about all the ritual we put around something like that. It's not the central event. But the rituals help lift up the values and the things to be noticed and focused on. So we have all of this around a birthday, around a sporting event to make it special and to hold a way to repeat it. Now, our hymn book, our service book, contains recipes, as it were, or rituals. You can do things in this order, and it has certain elements. The advantage of a book that is prepared by the church is that you�ve had experts that have seen all kinds of other versions of this prepare a really fine one for use by the church. And some items are adjustable in a local place. And some items are expected to be pretty much used as they are presented, certain wording, in particular. And they've been often tested by time and by practice in various societies and groups. So that sorting out process ends up in a book form. Now, we're moving to electronic files so that's a substitute for what the book would provide. We often call these forms liturgy. How is faith related to that? The liturgy then is simply a tool for bringing into the groups gathering the word of God that offers the grace of God so a person can believe it and have the benefits of it. Now, it's possible to examine these forms, rituals, rites, liturgies if you have some simple categories. I'm going to explain them now, and we'll work with them later. The first category is, obviously, the word of God. Now, that comes in a few forms, for example, preaching. Lutherans believe that God uses preaching--now it's called kind of foolishness by other people, and it's not surprising--I've heard some somewhat foolish sermons. God has chosen this kind of way to deliver his message, not just through the reading of scripture, but the expounding and explaining when you're using what Christ taught. God speaks to us so that's how he comes among us. Also when the scriptures are read. Now, they might also be paraphrased, as you do in the sermon, and sung. So we have preaching. We have reading. We have singing, say, singing the psalms is singing the word of God. We also have in this second category is sacrament. Now this, in the simplest form according to catechism, is an element plus the word. In baptism, it�s water plus word. In the Lord's Supper it�s bread, wine, plus word of Jesus. That makes a sacrament. We can think of that very much connected to word. So now we have two elements: word, sacrament. These are parts of liturgy. Liturgies are designed to deliver and present these so we can believe and use them in faith. Another element of worship is, obviously, prayer. We read many times in the New Testament how the disciples, the apostles, the new Christians gathered and prayed. It often mentions alongside the word. The prayer is an act of asking God, and we've heard his promises, so we go to him and say, okay. You promised that. So please do what you promised. He likes to hear that. So this is a natural thing for Christians when they gather to be about prayer. Then the next element could be praise. Now this is kind of a subcategory of prayer, but praise has a little different move in that it is glorifying, it's magnifying God, it's giving honor to him often by listing, bringing up, mentioning what it is that he's done that makes us feel happy, that makes us joyful in trusting it. So we call that act praise. It can be exuberant. It can be meditative. All of it, though, is the using of God's name in a thankful kind of mood. Finally, my fifth item I call ceremony. It's kind of a catch all because you wouldn't call an act like kneeling word. You would call it sacrament. You wouldn't call it prayer itself. You wouldn't call it praise. A procession wouldn't be one of these, but it might be a tool that is alongside of praise, a procession. So with those five elements, we can look at liturgy and say, you know, these are ways to assist faith. For example, the word is there to offer what God gives us in Jesus Christ, his grace and mercy. And in faith, we receive it. Similarly with the sacrament, God offers the forgiveness of sins in Holy Communion, and we receive it in faith, though we orally participate. We step forward. There's a proclaiming of Jesus in the act of doing that. This is all part of it, but faith is at the center. The prayer is also an act of faith. It's a kind of response. The Holy Spirit causes us to want to talk to God, to ask for what he has promised. And indeed, if Christians don't ask God for the things that this world needs, whether they�re for life sustaining qualities or protection, who, indeed, asks God except those who trust him? A person who has no faith really can mouth words, but it's not really a prayer. Similarly with praise, you can say the right words, but if you don't mean them in your heart, how can God hear that as something that he can really receive and accept as coming from the heart of faith? The ceremony can help focus on things. For example, in a procession we often lead that with a cross, and at the center of that symbol, symbolic act, and the movement, is to say we're all here thinking and celebrating what Jesus did for he is the one who died on the cross for us. So those would be examples where the faith, the worship, the form, the ritual all come together, and it centers then on the faith of the people who gather.