I am excited about this one mostly because I've never gone to a Lutheran service. I know I should expect basically the same thing I see in a Catholic Mass, but I'm curious to see differences as well.
And now for some things specifically about the Lutheran Church Missouri Synod: The Lutheran Church Missouri Synod is a conservative and fairly traditional branch of the Lutheran Church. Obviously, they have their roots in the Protestant Reformation, particularly with Martin Luther. They stress the teachings of Martin Luther quite heavily and oppose modernist trends in other branches of the Lutheran Church (See my upcoming blog on the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, ELCA for more on that one). As such, they do not ordain women, oppose homosexuality (fun for me), teach creationism and deny evolution (America, we need to get over this, seriously!), and teach that Jesus is the only way to salvation. The Church does not allow its members to partake in communion in any church other than theirs or a Lutheran Church that they are in fellowship with and they don't allow non-members or those not in communion with their church to take communion.
Lutherans do have a rich history, and I'm curious to see what it looks like in practice. The Church I am attending looks like it will have many elements of this tradition. They have an eastward facing chapel with stained glass windows. The grounds of the church are kept immaculate year round, a stunning feat considering that they have an elementary school on their premises.
From their website, I get the impression this congregation in particular is proud of their tradition and sees any watering down of it to be an offense to it. In a way, this seems to sum up the clash between tradition and modernity we see in our culture. I'm hoping I see concrete examples of this in the service tomorrow.
Until then, have a happy Saturday.