In Ceremony and Celebration, Paul H.D. Lang discusses a broad spectrum of topics relating to Lutheran liturgical worship. In Chapter 9, he shows how the confessional Lutheran position on ceremony is based on both tradition and the Holy Scriptures. (For definitions of ritual and ceremonial, read this excerpt.) Lang identifies four general rules of ceremony, which we will be posting over the next several days. The first of these is the principle of reverence.
“Many rules of ceremony are governed by the principle of reverence. God demands reverence. We owe Him reverence. We owe it to Him, not only as an inner attitude, but also as an outward expression….We Christians show reverence to God because the Holy Spirit prompts and enables us to do the will of God in response to His grace and blessings. ‘Wherefore we receiving a kingdom which cannot be moved, let us have grace, whereby we may serve God acceptably with reverence and godly fear’ (Heb. 12:28). In the church’s worship we meet with God who has called us into His kingdom. Therefore we express our reverence toward Him, His Word, His sacraments, and all persons and things connected with our worship of Him.” (p. 61)