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The blessings of worship

The blessings of worship

J. K. Wilhelm Loehe, a German Lutheran pastor, born in 1808, recorded these observation about Christian worship.

Sunday worship

In worship the congregation experiences its Lord most intimately. 

Here it lives in nearest proximity to its groom in a heavenly life on earth, an earthly life in heaven. Worship is the most beautiful flower of earthly life. Just like land in the middle of an ocean, the Word and the Sacraments stand in the inner life and worship of the congregation. 

You have one week behind you. A new week lies in front of you. Between these two weeks is the day of Communion Sunday. You desire to draw near to God with the congregation. 

Preparation for worship

What do you, whether you are a shepherd or a sheep, have to do first? You do what all religions say is necessary for the soul: you cleanse it like feet that have become dirty from the activity of daily life. In other words, you prepare yourself for worship by confessing your sins and receiving absolution. Being cleansed from sin, you enter into the joys of the particular festival day or Sunday. 

But the worshiper finds that earth still has other burdens and sorrows, both present and future. Life, death, and eternity, with all of their bitter fruits and consequences, threaten you as you journey to the heavenly kingdom. Worries burden you and keep burdening you. But no longer does sin torture you, no longer do you fear evil, no longer do you sigh longingly, but joyful confidence fills your soul. You sit beneath the face of the Lord. 

The sermon in worship

In the sermon you begin to experience the blessed communion of the saints who rejoice in the Lord. The worshiping congregation experiences itself as the Bride of the Lord, rich not only in and through him but also in and through one another. 

The congregation, in its fullness, thinks of the special needs and miseries upon the earth, delights in all good things, and goes before the altar of the Lord with intercessions, petitions, and prayers. 

Benefits of worship

All worshipers are blessed and approach the throne of blessing knowing they are worthy. The worshipers realize that the Church is one unit both here and everywhere. Pilgrims are one in their prayers and are cleansed with all of the blessed saints in heaven.

Source: Pastor J. K. Wilhelm Loehe

Johann Konrad Wilhelm Loehe never left Germany. He was born in Fuerth in 1808. Nonetheless he had a profound impact on the development of Lutheranism in North America. Pastor Loehe served a church in the Bavarian village of Neuendettelsau. In his age of European expansionism, he recognized the need for Christian workers in the lands the Germans and others were colonizing. He assisted in training workers to serve as missionaries to North America, Brazil, and Australia. A number of the men he sent to the United States became founders of the Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod. Through his financial support, a theological school in Fort Wayne, Indiana, and a teachers’ institute in Saginaw, Michigan, were established. Loehe was known for his confessional integrity and his interest in liturgy and catechetics. His devotion to works of  Christian charity led to the establishment of a deaconess training house and homes for the aged.