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WELS Q&A
WELS QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS
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Faith Related Q and A

» What times on what days should be considered the beginning and end of the Paschal Triduum? I've heard versions including Thursday evening through Saturday night, Friday afternoon through Sunday morning, and Thursday evening through Sunday evening. I recently taught a class on our church year and there was confusion on this topic among members, including some lifelong WELS members. Thanks in advance for clarifying this for us.
With human customs, it is not surprising to find variations. I can pass along to you this introductory information about the Triduum from the WELS Resource Center. “For more information about the history of the Triduum, see page 183 and following in Christian Worship: Occasional Services. However, a simple explanation would be this. The Triduum adds one service to Holy Week from what most WELS churches are used to. Specifically, it adds the Great Vigil, one of the most ancient services in the Christian Church. And it organized the services of the ‘three days’ (i.e. triduum) so that they go together. There is no benediction after Maundy Thursday or Good Friday, because they are just parts 1 and 2 of a three part observance. “Some churches have arranged the three services into one large worship folder. For ease of printing and customization, we have kept them distinct. This allows churches to modify the services using sound pastoral judgment to be appropriate for each congregation’s sensibility. In some locations, it might cause confusion to not have a benediction and to ask people to leave the church in silence. That portion of the worship folder can be easily modified. “The Great Vigil is growing in popularity throughout the WELS. There are churches that have used it for years now and find it as well attended as Maundy Thursday or Good Friday. Traditionally, it is held late on Saturday night. However, one possibility to introduce it to your church would be to do it as your Easter sunrise service. It has a very different tone than a festival Easter service. Members would be encouraged to come to it and a festival service on Sunday morning. You could have an Easter breakfast in between.” These links will take you to the preceding information and will also provide you with worship service templates for the Triduum.

» Hi, I’m a Lutheran who wants other people who aren’t Christians to receive salvation and go to heaven. But I understand that we believe it is faith alone and that it’s not our choice to “accept” Christ as Savior; it’s the work of God alone. If we believe that it’s God’s work alone, doesn’t that mean that we shouldn’t even bother preaching to non-believers? And also, if I were to preach to them, what do I say about receiving salvation? Many evangelicals would tell people to accept and trust him, but since we don’t “accept” Christ, do I tell them to put their faith in Jesus and they will be saved? I’m sorry if this is a long question, but I don’t know who to ask and it’s hard to put into words.
Conversion certainly is God’s work (1 Corinthians 12:3; Ephesians 2:8), but Romans 10:14-15 explains that God works through his word to bring people to faith. So, there is a need to share the word of God with people. As you witness to other people about Jesus, you can encourage them to look to the Lord as their Savior. If it happens that they do, it is because of the Holy Spirit’s working in their hearts through the word of God and not because of any decision on their part. When the apostle Paul answered the jailer of Philippi’s question about salvation, he said, “Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved—you and your household” (Acts 16:31). Paul was not looking for the jailer to make a decision and invite the Lord into his heart. The Bible explains why we can’t do that and don’t want to do that by nature. Theologians have called a statement like Paul’s a “gospel imperative.” Statements like that direct people to action, but the words themselves contain the power to carry out the instruction. God alone is responsible for Christian faith. Keep witnessing to your friends. God bless your witnessing of Jesus!

» Can a non-member, non-believer stand as maid of honor and/or bridesmaid/groomsman in a WELS wedding?
Yes. There are no biblical fellowship principles involved with the scenario you present. The individual is not leading or conducting any part of the worship service. Ideally, the individual will benefit from hearing the word of God and its focus on Jesus Christ as Savior.