When I was in seminary, shortly after the death of Luther (laugh here), issues of worship were not considered all that important. Maybe that is not quite right. They were not consider difficult issues requiring much education. So everything that might fall under the heading of worship was wrapped up into one class. The Divine Service (history and conduct of), the Occasional Services (from baptism to funeral to suffrages to confirmation etc...), the daily offices, rubrics, the Church Year (history and practice of), hymnody (history, theology, and music), vestments (history and practice), role of the choir, choral music, Lutheran liturgical theology, and everything else was lumped together in a single class. To be fair, it was assumed (and we all know what happens when you assume) that you would learn the practice also through field work and on vicarage (internship) from your supervising pastor (oft called your bishop) and from your own experience as a Lutheran in the pews growing up.
The reality was that little was learned except just enough not to be automatically seen as a fool and a clod who had never been in the chancel before. All of this was, of course, in the midst of a worship upheaval never before seen in the life of Christians (Roman Catholics and Lutherans especially). The mass in the vernacular had just been introduced, the three-year lectionary just produced, and the work was getting serious on a common hymnal for all Lutherans in America (the dream, anyway). The LCMS was on the verge of ditching its The Lutheran Hymnal which was nearly universally used since 1941 in the Synod and the precursor bodies of the ELCA were ready to ditch their Service Book and Hymnal which they had produced in 1958 in part to hasten mergers. At the time Lutherans were actually pretty much on the same page liturgically, all using the Common Service of 1888 with relatively small differences (save for the Eucharistic Prayer option of SBH). Yet this was not seen as a time to add any more instruction or time for seminarians to learn how to lead God's people in worship and prayer.
But that is how it has generally been in Lutheranism. We have assumed more about worship than we have taught. Worship was not even a subject in my catechesis as a youth preparing for confirmation more than 50 years ago. Why have we been so reticent to give worship place in the catechesis of youth and adults in the parish and seminarians being trained for the pastoral ministry? I wonder. . .
Could it be that we really did consciously assume that people got this by being on one side or the other of the altar rail for a time? Or is there a more pernicious and dangerous assumption behind our lack of training to lay and clergy? Could it be that have assumed this is no big deal? I fear that this is the real skeleton in our closet. We Lutherans have assumed that worship is not rocket science and anybody with half a wit can figure out how to plan and lead it. We insist that doctrine and Biblical theology must be carefully taught but worship can be easily learned and homiletics is largely learning by experience. This is perhaps the reason why we really do not understand what adiaphora means even though we banter about the word all the time. And we really do not get the consequences of our Confessional hesitance to be too specific about what ceremonies, rituals, church usages, or rites must be kept. The false assumption that has and still haunts us is the unmistakable presumption that this is not difficult, not something requiring too much of our attention, and, therefore, not all that important.
I am convinced that our Lutheran fathers would not approve of our assumptions or our failure to be deliberate in teaching liturgical theology, history, practice, etc... Luther's own reticence to make too many changes was a conservative approach. Nothing needed to be changed unless it must be changed. The Gospel was not a liberation from history or liturgy but a restoration of the core and center of what the liturgical service was. In fact, I am convinced that much of the confusion and carelessness in our churches today is born of our failure to attend worship and to give it its rightful place both in catechesis and the training of pastors. It is no coincidence that when I remind us of our liturgical history of form and practice I receive a barrage of complaints against sacerdotalism, Romanism, chancel prancing, chanting, vestments, and the like as if these were foreign to our Lutheran identity and alien to the mission of the Kingdom preached and taught. Too many of us, whether evangelical in style or traditional, prefer no rules, rubrics, or rights and wrongs than to standards of practice and a uniformity of theology of the Divine Service. Until we resolve this and become at ease with who we are liturgically, doctrinal unity will not bind us together either. Until we begin talking about this in catechesis and training our pastors to be as well equipped in the chancel as they are in other places, we will remain a church divided and worship wars will continue to be fought among us.