In the church we have ceremonies. These are necessary as we were created to receive his gifts. That is our ears hear his word and, our eyes see the elements of baptism and the supper, our mouths receive and taste the elements of the supper, our noses even smell the wine. So, in the church there are the ceremonies instituted by Jesus to give faith and nourish it, and those traditions which serve the proclamation of the Gospel such as the day of worship and the church calendar. We could hold services where only God’s Word was read, the Word preached, and the sacraments administered according to Jesus’ institution. But which scripture to read and preach on? Do we immerse in the water or merely sprinkle? Do we kneel for the Supper or stand? In these things we have freedom as spiritual beings to devise ceremonies that serve the proclamation and reception of Jesus’ gifts. It is part of our sanctification that we can devise ceremonies which serve the proclamation of the Gospel. Sunday reminds us Jesus rose on the third day. A church calendar reminds us that our lives are tied to Christ. Kneeling for the Supper helps to remind us that we are in the presence of a Holy God. None of our ceremonies impart faith nor give faith, only the Word and Sacraments do that. But they are marks of our sanctification and our freedom.
Pastor Gary Hall