Lutherans are the heirs of the Western Christian tradition, and as such we are one with all Christians in our beliefs in God as Trinity, in the divine and human natures of Jesus Christ, and in the nature of the Church. Our beliefs are lived out in our worship life. We accept the canonical Scriptures of the Old and New Testaments as the inspired Word of God and the authoritative source and norm of the Church's proclamation, faith, and life. We also accept the Apostles', Nicene, and Athanasian Creeds, as well as the Unaltered Augsburg Confession and the other Lutheran Confessional Writings found in the Book of Concord.
Baptism is the foundational sacrament which brings us in to the church. We are joined to the death and resurrection of Christ and made children of God. Lutherans baptize infants, as it is God who is the one who acts, not us. Various modes are employed for Baptism. Most often, the pastor will pour water over the person's head as she or he is baptized in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.
The Eucharst is at the very center of our worship. At University Lutheran Church and Student Center, we celebrate Holy Communion at every Sunday morning service. If Baptism is our holy bath, then the Eucharist is our holy meal. Lutherans did not depart from the ancient faith of the church in regard to our belief in Holy Communion. We believe in the Real Presence, which means that we belief that Christ is truly present in the elements of Holy Communion. When we receive the consecrated (blessed) bread and wine, we are truly receiving the Body and Blood of Christ. Lutherans have never tried to define "the how" of Christ's presence. Rather, we say that it is a holy mystery. Christ is present under the form of bread and wine because he has promised to be. We therefore receive frequently and with great joy.
Confession is also central to our life as God's baptized people. Confession is closely related to Baptism. There are various ways in which Lutherans partake of this means of grace. For the most part, there is the General Confession at the beginning of every service, in which the congregation prays together, and then the pastor announces God's words of forgiveness in the absolution. Lutherans have, however, maintained the option of private confession, where one goes to the pastor and confesses sins privately and then receives the word of forgiveness. Either one is perfectly acceptable. What is important is that we daily confess our sins to God and remember our Baptism! Private confession and absolution is offered several times per year, or you may contact the pastor for an appointment.
Other Holy Rites
Lutherans also celebrate other holy rites which are well-known to all Christians:
- Confirmation (Affirmation of Baptism),
- Anointing of the Sick
These rites, which show forth God's grace, are all celebrated in the Lutheran Church.
God comes to us in many and various ways, and we celebrate milestones throughout our lives!