Abstract

In this article I have focused on three main types of worship in the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Finland. The church has a long liturgical tradition and its liturgical services for Sunday worship and other divine services have been reformed, paying attention to both the tradition of the church and its changing context. The work of the Spirit is not excluded per definition by a fixed service. First, the formula allows scope for variation; but foremost, the Evangelical Lutheran theology interprets the work of the Spirit as an immediate inner work in and through external forms. Sunday worship engages the faithful members of the church. The service is ordered by the liturgical year and its spirituality emphasises the beliefs and values of the Christian tradition and the church. But worship cannot be interpreted as just a transmittal of information, the liturgy is structured as a dialogue between God and the congregation. One is in the presence of God, engaging all the thoughts and emotions in one’s life. At the other end of the spectrum, are special services, such as baptism, confirmation, wedding ceremonies and funerals. In these, the emphasis is on life circumstances and the dimension of spirituality as a way of life. These situations are the reason for the ritual. The challenge here in shaping spirituality is to keep both existential questions and questions of faith together as an integrated whole. Between Sunday worship and the special services, we see worship models emerging that have special topics, such as Gloria Dei-masses, metal music masses and rainbow masses and so on. These also focus on spirituality as a way of life, but not from the point of view of the individual or a family, but through specific topics. This form of worship can help the congregation in communicating and serving special needs. The three main types of worship all try to integrate different dimensions of spirituality in their dialogue with God. They are part of the worship in the local congregation as a whole, but since the specific services are often attended by different people, they can be perceived as separate parts. The challenge is to maintain unity through the different dimensions of beliefs, values and ways of life, with harmonious spirituality within the congregation and its worship as the goal.