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Gottesblog

A blog of the Evangelical Lutheran Liturgy

AC XXIV in Action

Our churches are falsely accused of abolishing the Mass. The Mass is held among us and celebrated with the highest reverence. Nearly all the usual ceremonies are also preserved . . . . For ceremonies are needed for this reason alone, that the uneducated be taught what they need to know about Christ.
— AC XXIV, 1–3.

Ceremonies are retained or added to teach the people. What we do in the service teaches even as what we say teaches. And the two are to be wedded together. Here is how this played out in many of the church orders of the Sixteenth Century.

It may perhaps be mentioned in this context that four boys had to genuflect at the altar in the castle church of Mansfeld during the words ‘and became man’ (Et incarnatus est) in order to defend agains the Flacian error.
— Zeeden, Faith and Act, 21.

So there you have it. AC XXIV in action. Ceremonies and rituals serve the people to teach them what they need to know about Christ. Let us, then, be witting ritualists so that the doctrine of Christ might be known and thus believed.