Lutheran worship has always been called gottesdienst (literally: God’s service), or Divine Service in Lutheran Service Book. This is rooted in the biblical fact that ever since the Garden of Eden, God has served His people. His service to man is also found throughout the remainder of the Old Testament in the worship of the tabernacle, temple, and synagogue. Christ Jesus continues this service to us in the New Testament Church as He explains that He came not to be served but to serve and give His life as a ransom for many.
The structure of the Divine Service itself is also biblically rooted in the earliest recorded worship of the Christian Church in Acts 2:42: And they devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers. God serves us in Word (apostles’ teaching) and Sacrament (breaking of bread), which gives shape to the twofold structure of the Divine Service. The Word is proclaimed through the liturgy, readings, sermon, creed, and hymns, which are either exact verses or paraphrases from the Bible. The Sacrament is the very body and blood of Jesus Christ just as He promised, given and shed for us for the forgiveness of sins in, with, and under the bread and wine. Through Word and Sacrament Christ is truly present with us and for us. No wonder the Divine Service is often called heaven on earth!