Spirituality is how we walk with the Spirit of God. We have been converted to the Gospel and believe in our Lord Jesus Christ through whom we become reconciled to God. What does a life look like after that? What does it mean to practice our Faith? What does a Christian Life look like? Going to Church is certainly part of our practice, but why go to Church? How do we walk with God? How are we different from people who are not Christians? Going to Church is not a mere formality or a habit or a social networking gathering. Our Faith and connection with God through the Spirit gives us a change in life and a hope for the eternal future with God.
Word and Sacraments
We Lutherans believe that we are sinners and were born that way due to the sin of Adam. Because we are dead to God from the very beginning, we all need rescue from the outside. We believe that rescue was accomplished by Jesus Christ for the whole world. But, how do we get it? How do we get the salvation Jesus provided for us through His death?
We believe God comes to us through His Word the Bible (preached and read). The Holy Spirit who created the Bible through men now uses simple words to convert us. When we believe the promise of the Bible about our Lord's work, we receive the benefits of the Lord's work. Yet, we are dead in sin and cannot even hear the Word unless God the Holy Spirit makes it possible.
Because of this, we believe with St. Paul that faith is a gift from God. When we hear the Word of God, the Holy Spirit creates faith in those he pleases when he pleases.
God also uses water for Baptism to create faith and Bread and Wine (that bears the Body and Blood of Christ) to create and sustain faith.
Since God has chosen to create and sustain faith through Words of the Bible and Water of Baptism and the Body and Blood of Jesus with Bread and Wine, we Lutherans believe we should say close to the Word and the Sacraments. Since these are found in Bible reading and hearing and receiving in the gathering of God's people with a called and ordained Pastor, part of Lutheran spirituality is to frequent the Lord's House - sustain it, make it possible with our gifts and receive the Lord's blessings whenever we are able to do so.
One does not have to attend church to be saved, but we Lutherans believe those who are being saved will desire to attend church where the Holy Things God offers are ever present and available.
private prayer and study of ourselves
Prayer and self-reflection are part of Lutheran spirituality. We not only hear the Word in the meeting of the church, but we stay close to the Word of God (the Bible) in our personal reading and reflection.
It is impossible to read the Bible in private and not be self-reflective for the Bible not only speaks of what God has done for us but also what we should do for God. We Lutherans call this Law and Gospel. When the Lord commands us in behavior and belief we term that the Law. The Law must be obeyed. But, on self-reflection, we always discover we have fallen short of what God expects for us. We confess our shortfalls and constantly intend to amend our lives and do better.
Then, we read of God's gracious Gospel to forgive all who truly repent and intend with all sincerity to do better with the help of the Holy Spirit. The Law from God shows how short we have fallen from the glory of God and the Gospel speaks of God's gracious love to forgive repentant sinners.
We Lutherans believe as we read the Bible and are self-reflective that we have failed God in many ways, all ways, all days in many ways. We are totally unworthy of His commitments to us for help in this life and in the life to come.
So, we live in gratitude for God's grace and a lively and purposeful desire to amend our ways and seek to please God in our thoughts, words and deeds with all earnestness - not to earn the Grace of God but in response to the Grace of God we have not earned nor do we deserve.
We Lutherans cherish the Bible and seek to constantly read, study and inwardly digest the Word of God. Lutherans are known by the world to be committed to education to learn the Word and read it for ourselves and, through education, to be of service to our neighbors as we travel in this life.
serving our neighbor
We Lutherans believe that since God has been so gracious to us that we have an obligation to be gracious to those around us - especially those who are fellow believers. This is one reason Lutherans, although we know what we believe and are convinced our beliefs are true, we do not actively put down and criticize the beliefs and consciences of others who are in the Christian fold.
We actively seek to bless our neighbors close and far with the truth of the Gospel as well as needs of the body and needs of the integrity of all human beings believers or no.
So, we Lutherans have social ministry all over the world. We arrive when there is a tragedy in our country and elsewhere. We seek to relieve the suffering of others by supporting hospitals and nursing homes and facilities for those who are challenged both physically and mentally.
We offer food banks and give to individuals who are in need through our thousands of congregations around the world. Our humanitarian efforts are due to our constant and steady belief that God has commanded us to do acts of mercy since He has given such grace and mercy to us his children.
God cares for and loves the whole world so much He offered His Son for the salvation of the whole world. His compassion for the whole world - indeed the whole creation - compels us to act on His behalf.
We Lutherans believe the BEST way to serve and help our neighbor is to be the BEST at whatever God has called us to do whether it be a locksmith or a laborer; a doctor or veterinarian; a steel worker or a shoemaker. Whatever we care called to do in life we serve our neighbor in the greatest way when we are the BEST we can be at what we do. This is the Lutheran doctrine of Vocation - we believe God uses everyday occupations to serve others so that a pastor and ditch digger both serve God.