One of my key points of emphasis and goals for the coming years is to foster and facilitate a greater harmony of worship practice within the fellowship of our congregations. I realize that can be a visceral or even volatile topic of conversation, which is itself an indication of the need to do better in this area than we have done. The goal is not some kind of lockstep uniformity, which is not really possible, nor has it ever been the case in the history of the Church on earth. But, as our Lutheran forefathers often pointed out, since we have “one Lord, one faith, one Baptism, one God and Father of all” (Eph. 4:5-6), and as we are given one Holy Gospel and one Holy Communion in the one Body of Christ Jesus, it is most appropriate and desirable that we should share a common confession and practice of the Christian faith. Such unity in practice has likewise been one of the goals and purposes of our Synod since its beginning, one that is still worth pursuing in our life together.
Especially as we are gathered together for various District events, conferences, conventions, and so forth, we should use those orders and forms of worship that we have developed, agreed upon, and received together within the fellowship of The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod. And using those same orders and forms of worship within our respective congregations from week to week throughout the Church Year contributes positively to the strength and stability of our fellowship. No two congregations are going to be identical, just as no two pastors are exactly alike. But we should rightly expect to find a clear and consistent continuity of practice from parish to parish, especially for the sake of the clarity and consistency of our catechesis and confession of Christ Jesus: To Him be the glory forever. Amen.