Hat tip to Pastor Weedon for this link to a video of a Lutheran Divine Service in the States. If you have never been to a Lutheran service, this will give you a good idea of how it happens. The church is quite beautiful and typically Lutheran in the arrangement and style of the furniture, and the rite itself is “straight from the hymnal” as they say (traditional Lutheran Service with Common without a Eucharistic prayer).
But the ceremonial is anything but typical of a Lutheran service. It is, in fact, about as “catholic” as you can make the Lutheran rite: chasuble, server, genuflections, elevations, signs of the cross everywhere (but curiously, no kneeling to receive communion–as would usually be the case in a Lutheran Church–and individual cups as well as the common chalice). It is quite acceptable to do it that way, of course, but you won’t find any Lutheran services in Australia that go that far in the Romanising direction. Not even I went quite as far as that when I was a Lutheran pastor (although I had chasubles and genuflections etc and never allowed individual cups — I was rather more “novus ordo” in style than Tridentine). Perhaps the closest the Lutheran liturgy ever came to being done like this in Australia was when Marco was pastor at Melton, but he was regarded as extreme (he’s mellowed over the years!).
The incongruity between the lavish (by Lutheran standards) ritual at the consecration of the bread and wine (elevations, genuflections) and the rather low-church manner of distribution of the consecrated elements (standing, individual cups) makes me wonder if there is some kind of disconnect between the preferred liturgical style of the pastor leading this congregation and the piety/faith of his congregation members. They probably “tolerate” his oddities in much the same way my congregation tolerated me when I did all these “catholic things” in their liturgy (I figure the level of tolerance in Marco’s parish was even higher). But I know for a fact that the liturgy isn’t done like that any more in either my old parish or in Marco’s old parish. It was just us–it wasn’t the faith of the people–and they didn’t end up owning it no matter how hard we tried to push it.