We can learn a lot about a movement from its architecture. This build is light, airy, and every sight line draws the eye to the central dais, on which a table holds a book and a large offering plate.
The Lutheran liturgy feels both familiar and different to me. In terms of its basic structure it is virtually identical to an Anglican or Catholic liturgy: we have prayers of confession, Old and New Testament readings, a Gospel reading, the Creed, intercessions, the Lord’s prayer and a sermon, although in most cases the actual phraseology and cadences are quite different to what I’m used too.
As ever, I used the after-church coffee time to ask my questions.
Why are you here?
What is God doing in the city?
Apparently, these are not easy questions to answer. One person told me that this church exists to share the ‘word of God.’ The pastor explained that it exists to teach a ‘theology of the cross, not a theology of glory.’ Another congregant suggested that it exists partly to serve the local community through it’s very well equipped and well regarded day-care facilities.
Some answers were couched in complex theological language. But I think the most significant answer I heard was from the lady who served me my coffee.
“I’m here because this was the first place I that I ever heard that Jesus loves me.”
A church could do much worse.