Luther and Reformatory Ideas: The Church and Church Services

The Reformation meant that church services had to be rethought, as a result of which the appearance and function of the church interior also gradually changed. If in their relationship to God people were to first and foremost accept what God gave them, instead of trying to secure their own salvation by performing good deeds, then church services and the church itself were to reflect this.

Church services changed character, and in many churches the décor started to change too. The pulpit was granted a prominent place: it was important that children were christened, that the congregation took Holy Communion, joined in the singing of hymns, and heard the sermon that was to put the world to rights. Words came to play a major role in Lutheran church services. The Lutheran understanding of the church service underlies translations of the Bible to national languages and the strong Danish traditions for hymns.

At the time of the Reformation, images of saints were removed from churches and replaced by images that depict biblical stories about Jesus or christenings, Holy Communion and sermons. In the new understanding of the church service, the christening, Holy Communion and sermon represent the congregation’s meeting with God.