Altars in the desert
Lutherans believe that worship isn’t so much about what we do, but about what God does for us.
We simply respond in prayer and praise to the God who comes down to our level. The focus in Lutheran worship is not on how we feel but on how God comes to us.
We believe that worship is a treasure because it is as close as we get to heaven on earth, because God is there, forgiving, speaking, listening and feeding us – getting us ready to worship him in the world with the gift of our lives.
In Central Australia this theology continues to be taught and put into practice.
Many of the northern Lutheran communities, supported by Finke River Mission, worship in the open spaces of God’s creation. There is still a great respect for the importance of the altar even though it may take different shapes and forms!
The important thing about an altar if that it is the place where the Lord’s Supper is prepared and from which it distributed. It is also the place where prayers are offered to God.
So the public gathering of God’s people in Christ’s presence around his word and his special gifts of baptism, absolution (forgiveness of sin) and holy communion, is all about God serving us.
Lutheran worship has a distinctive shape which speaks of the God who is with us at our human level serving us. God comes to us in a way that we can hear, see and taste. In his amazing grace, God initiates worship. He gathers us, forgives us, speaks to us, listens to us and sends us out renewed. Lutheran worship in central Australia may not have lead light, heated pews and marble. It may have dogs, dust, flies and improvised altars, but God is still the centre of worship!