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                     The Journal of Lutheran Liturgy

We exist to promote and defend the historic liturgy of the Church, as it has come to us from Western Christendom. This work, because of its very nature, is also deeply rooted in the Gospel itself, which is why we feel justified in commenting on doctrinal and exegetical matters too, to an extent. The liturgy and the Gospel it encases are integrally related. This is unquestionable when it comes to the sermon, so we have always dedicated a substantial amount of space to sermons and to writings about sermons. Sermons are part of the liturgy: the preaching of the Gospel is a liturgical activity. We believe that when preaching is weak, liturgical follies will likely be nearby, whether either forerunning or coming soon afterwards. Where the Gospel is not clearly understood, with all its sacramental implications, it is not surprising to see churches being stripped of the decorum that has historically accompanied it.

Put another way, when Christ is not proclaimed as the One who sits on the altar—whose true body and blood that were offered to God for the sin of the world are given to the Church for the remission of sins—when this reality is not understood or clearly confessed, then there is nothing left but window dressing and show. Why concern yourself with paraments and vestments, or with liturgical propriety and rubrics, if the reason for all this is missing? Gottesdienst aims to provide a defense for the liturgy by confessing in no uncertain terms what the liturgy is for. We don’t genuflect, or make the sign of the cross, or bow, just because it’s the faddish thing to do, or because we happen to think it would be stylish to look Catholic. We do happen to do those things for pretty much the same reason they do them, though in their case it might be more of a matter of obligation than of confession, considering the fact that they have for centuries had a penchant for speaking of matters of the Gospel in terms of “holy obligations.” We are, however, quite willing to agree that where Christ is present, there solemnity is appropriate, and any lack of solemnity is inappropriate.

In our own Lutheran settings, we’ve been dealing more urgently with this greater problem, this lack of solemnity. We take that liturgical observation as symptomatic of a greater infirmity. When people lack reverence and solemnity, what they lack is a sense of awe. When they lack that, it can only be because they are unaware of Who is present before them. They might deny this, but seriously: if you had opportunity to have a place in the upper room on Easter, would you act casually? Would you not be overcome? Thomas certainly was, on the Sunday after Easter. Though he was undoubtedly thrilled, we can surmise his (necessarily spontaneous) liturgical response to have been something like that of the Wise Men, or of the returning leper. Nor would it have been for him merely out of holy obligation that he replied, “My Lord and my God” (St. John 20:28). It was because of what he knew, what he could not deny.

Gottesdienst is for you if

·       You want to know more about the liturgy

·       Or if you want some great seasonal sermons and Biblical insights

·       Or if you want liturgical observations that are truthful, insightful, and unafraid

·       Or if you want encouragement to stand firm in the faith

·       Or if you’re a pastor who hasn’t yet taken the step of ordering a bulk subscription for your congregation.  You know, if they read something you’re already trying to tell them, they might be easier to convince. 

Michaelmas 2008In Gottesdienst, you may expect to find

  Sermons old and new preaching Christ and Him Crucified.   

  Meditations on the Mysteries of the Gospel.

  Liturgical observations  concerning 21st century Christendom. 

  Answers to your liturgical questions. 

  Commentary on the good and the bad in worship.   

  Clear explanations of the liturgy. 

The German word Gottesdienst (literally, "God's service") may be defined as both "divine service" and "public worship." The first and fundamental definition has to do with God's sacramental service toward man in the preaching of the Word and the administration of the Sacraments. The subordinate definition portrays man's sacrificial service toward God in the offering of hymns, prayers, etc. We propose that the historic Divine Service of the Western Christian Church is more than the cobwebs of antiquity. It is a theological treasure, which is most needed in today's Christian Church. The slogan Leitourgia Divina adiaphora non est (lit., "The Divine Liturgy is not adiaphora [indifferent things]") reflects this conviction.  

Our story: Gottesdienst was established in 1992 and had been responsible for providing outstanding liturgical material ever since. This journal is dedicated to the preservation and promotion of the historic Lutheran liturgy. We pledge to maintain the high level of confessional integrity and expectations for which this journal has always been known. To that end, we routinely publish sermons new and old, and fine articles pertaining to the historic liturgy and its rubrics, with an aim to fostering a deeper understanding of and appreciation for the Divine Service in which our Holy and Triune God enlightens us with His gifts, sanctifies, and keeps us in the true faith. We are encouraged by the continued growth we have enjoyed, as Gottesdienst continues to make strides in having an impact on current liturgical practices, and would be pleased to add your name to our growing list of subscribers.

Last updated on October 25, 2014
© 2014 Gottesdienst, a publishing arm of St. Paul's
Ev. Lutheran Church, Kewanee, Illinois