The Lutheran Church, like many others, is one of tradition. If you doubt this, ask a member of any congregation why it is they do something in a particular way. You will likely be met with the response, “This is how we have always done it.” Suggest making subtle changes such as lighting candles in a different order and you will hear the familiar refrain, “We have never done it that way.” The traditions within our congregations are endearing, comfortable and seem unchanging. However, as beloved as they may be, our traditions and rituals serve no purpose towards attaining salvation.
From the beginning, the rituals of the temple were such that everything was done in strict order. The author of Hebrews reminds the Church that before the death and resurrection of Christ, worship was done in a particular way. The observances of the priests made sacrificial offerings for the sins of people, yet the blood of animals could not atone to for human disobedience. Simply put, their rituals could not bring about salvation.
Since humanity’s fall, God’s plan for redeeming his people from sin, death and the power of the devil has always been through the sacrifice of his only Son Jesus Christ. No ritual of man can bring about the total forgiveness of sin that comes through Jesus’ victory of the cross. And so our worship is made in thankful response to all God accomplishes through his only begotten Son, our great High Priest.
We worship you, Lord Jesus, for you have saved your people and opened the gates of heaven for all who believe in you. Amen.