Martin’s 9 Mottoes for Worship
Motto #2: ARRANGE WORSHIP AROUND GOD’S WORD!
Every church has its own worship traditions, items or practices that have become indispensable. In Luther’s circle, Communion was gaining prominence over God’s Word. One cannot argue against Communion, but Luther would argue about its priority in worship planning. “The daily masses should be completely discontinued; for the Word is important and not the mass” (Luther’s Works, Vol. 53, Worship and Liturgy, p 13). (A note for reading Luther: Sometimes the “Word” means the Bible; sometimes it means preaching the good news of Jesus.)
Arrange worship plans around God’s Word. “Let everything be done so that the Word may have free course instead of the prattling and rattling that has been the rule up to now” (p 14).
God’s Word is the one essential. “[A] Christian congregation should never gather together without the preaching of God’s Word and prayer no matter how briefly…. Therefore, when God’s Word is not preached, one had better neither sing nor read, or even come together” (p 11).
God’s Word is the gatekeeper against error. “Three serious abuses have crept into the service. First, God’s Word has been silenced, and only reading and singing remain in the churches. Second, when God’s Word had been silenced such a host of un-Christian fables and lies, in legends, hymns, and sermons were introduced that it is horrible to see” (p 11).
The greatest benefit of worship is in God’s Word. “We can spare everything except the Word. Again, we profit by nothing as much as by the Word” (p 14).
What in your experience supports, or differs with, Martin Luther on this point?
What have you observed as overly prominent in a worship service?
Martin’s 9 Mottoes for Worship: