Tuesday, April 3, 2012

For the "Lutheran Curious"

Last year around this time I issued a challenge for those curious about Lutheranism and I thought I might as well again this year. You can certainly visit a confessional Lutheran church anytime of the year and get a pretty good understanding of what Lutheranism is all about but Thursday through Saturday those who attend churches which do not observe the liturgical calendar have an opportunity to experience 100 proof Lutheranism without missing the Sunday service at the church they currently attend. I'm speaking of what is known as the Holy Triduum. It's basically a single service that lasts for three days beginning on Maundy Thursday. Technically it ends on Sunday evening but you can get a good idea of what it's all about if you go to the services Thursday through Saturday. Some churches offer more services than others but if you can find one that has Maundy Thursday, Good Friday, and the Easter Vigil service on Saturday you'll get a good understanding of what it's all about. The stripped down Good Friday service also gives you a good idea of what worship in the early church was like. The Maundy Thursday and Good Friday sections of the service are likely to be under an hour and a half each. Historically the Easter Vigil service lasted from sunset on Saturday until sunrise on Sunday but in most churches it's under two hours. The Easter Vigil service is perhaps the most beautiful service of the entire liturgical year and contains lots and lots of Scripture reading.

So anyhow, my suggestion for those who are trying to figure out what Lutheranism is all about, would be to try to find a church on this list that has Maundy Thursday, Good Friday, and an Easter Vigil service. Then go to your own church on Easter morning. You probably have a pretty good idea of what your church is all about but going to your church and the Lutheran church in such a short time period will allow you to observe the similarities and differences more clearly.

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