Why are these things taboo in most mainstream, contemporary Lutheran circles? We have had it instilled in our collective psyche from the first moment the hammer hit the nail at Wittenberg that we were possibly wrong. Then, as the peasants threatened to tear the world apart, we got that feeling even more strongly. And all the time we question and second guess ourselves. Did we go far enough? Can we really do what we have done? Is it ok to put the Bishop on a boat and send him across the Mississippi?
We have a lot of fears in the Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod. Fears of being “too Catholic.” Fears of not being “relevant.” Fears of being “too evangelical.” Fears that we somehow are not right, even though we know we are.
We did not leave the Catholic Church, we reformed her. By remaining true to the Gospel and standing up to Satan and his lies, we have been given the mantle of the Catholic Church. There are many things that did not need reforming. Liturgical worship was and is a blessing. The use of incense and other tools to aid us in attaining a reverent and awe-filled attitude in the presence of the Living God are blessings. Making the sign of the cross as a remembrance of one’s baptism is a blessing. Bowing out of respect and awe for the holiness of God as He gives us His holy Body and Blood are a natural and healthy response.
So, my Lutheran brethren (and sisteren!), stop looking over your shoulder to see what all the other “reform” minded people are doing. Be Lutheran! Be Evangelical! Be Catholic! Be the Church! Be a beacon of the most precious and beautiful of all of God’s gifts: The Holy Gospel of Jesus Christ. (And don’t worry about the capital letters!)