We were on our own for several days in Copenhagen, so on Sunday we attended a service of the Church of Denmark. Gabriel had invited us to a congregation in fellowship with the LCMS, but the service was at 4:30 p.m., and we had to meet up with our hosts around then. We had earlier come across a magnificent church (“the Marble Church”) near the palace (Denmark, Norway, and Sweden are all constitutional monarchies, like England). We thought we would go to a service there. So we set forth from our hotel for a trek of probably just over a mile or so.
When we saw it as tourists, we saw a sign that the building would be closed to the public during services, so we hoped that they would let us in. We were graciously received by the usher. There was a far bigger crowd than I was expecting, around 100 people. We were given an English translation of the liturgy. We could have probably followed it without the translation, since it was the basic service that we had in the United States. The tunes of the hymns were some of the same that we sing.
There were certainly differences. Pastors there wear a black gown with a cool 17th-century-style ruff. There was no offering, since the government and church taxes support the churches financially. (They did have a box that you could put coins in as you leave, which I think is an ancient practice, before the advent of pews and passing the plate.) They also had no confession and absolution. (I was told later that liberal congregations tend to leave out that part of the service, while conservative congregations retain it. Later, in Norway, we went to an Inner Mission service, which did include the confession of sins, though not an absolution from the pastor.) [Read more...]