29 April 2009

The Body of Christ

Tonight a stranger showed up at St. Paul's - never met Eleanor before - but we soon realized she wasn't a stranger. She was a dear sister, one who shared our faith. She communed with us tonight, studied the Scriptures with us, and prayed Compline with us. She's from a sister parish on the other side of the river, and it's a long story what brought her out our way tonight. But it was just so neat to see and realize: another member of Christ's holy body, and one who shares our Lutheran confession of the holy faith, and though we'd never seen her before, and might not see her again, God gave us the joy of meeting one of our Baptismal siblings, a member of His forever family. I think she felt the same way, for she seemed right at home - which she should be. How many are the untold treasures of the body of Christ! There's something truly beautiful about that.

9 comments:

pastor pete said...

Beautiful indeed.

Reminds me of the words from a Rich Mullins song, "Peace" -

"Though we're strangers,
still I love you
I love you more than your mask
And you know you have to trust this to be true
And I know that's much to ask
But lay down your fears, come and join this feast
He has called us here, you and me

And may peace rain down from Heaven
Like little pieces of the sky
Little keepers of the promise
Falling on these souls
This drought has dried
In His Blood and in His Body
In the Bread and in this Wine
Peace to you
Peace of Christ to you

And though I love you, still we're strangers
Prisoners in these lonely hearts
And though our blindness separates us
Still His light shines in the dark

And His outstretched arms are still strong enough to reach
Behind these prison bars to set us free

So may peace rain down from Heaven
Like little pieces of the sky
Little keepers of the promise
Falling on these souls the drought has dried
In His Blood and in His Body
In this Bread and in this Wine
Peace to you
Peace of Christ to you

Rev. Paul Beisel said...

I'm sure part of what made her feel at home was coming to a place that shared not only a common faith but a common liturgy as well. Liturgical uniformity, though unnecessary for many, is a blessing.

Elephantschild said...

It's the same when I travel several hours out of state to visit with fellow LCMS homeschoolers. I attend church with whomever I'm visiting, and it's pure bliss.

On the Martin Loopers email list we can say "Meet you at the Communion rail Sunday morning?" even though the group of us are spread out over the entire country (and world!)

And like Pr. Beisel says, the common liturgy is such a blessing.

Jim Huffman said...

You know, this is a wonderful thought. I wish I could share in the sentiments. But the final straw was last June when my wife and I visited an LCMS congregation while on a short trip, and a (vested) woman elder was presiding at communion. (When we realized what was going on, we walked out). I wish this were an exception. It's not. I have grown weary of dealing with antics at various LCMS congregations, and I won't attend another LCMS outside of my own. Because I don't know what I'll get.

Rev. Jim Roemke said...

It is a sad truth that in our sinful, fallen world, Christ's Church is dangerously divided, sometimes to the extreme of open heresy and heterodoxy. If you are travelling, do some research on your own or ask your pastor for a recommendation. That's what I do. And the few times that I do get a call from out-of-town visitors asking about our church and worship I always appreciate the opporunity.

Jim Huffman said...

But supposedly that's the point of synodical fellowship: you're not supposed to have to do research so you can go to church without violating conscience.

Rev. Jim Roemke said...

Jim,I know, but too bad, that is nit the reality and it hasn't been for more than a generation. Better to live with the reality that we have than to simply say "That's not the way its supposed to be! I'm not going to travel or go to church when I travel."

William Weedon said...

Jim,

When the ancient Christian visited the Church in Corinth there were some practices (and teachings!) going on there that would raise an eyebrow or two indeed. Bad practice can be found throughout the length and breadth of the Church. The miracle is that somehow beneath the garbage and muck, there's a blessed communion and union in Christ that binds heart to heart and soul to soul and nothing Satan throws at it can destroy it. That's sweet indeed. And when one finds this true inner communion expressed also in outward concord, it's a cause for double or triple rejoicing - for it is certainly not always the case.

Pax!

Jim Huffman said...

But, Pastor Roemke, what's the point of a synodical "fellowship"? If I have to make a determination every time I contemplate visiting an LCMS congregation, it's no different from making a determination of visiting any other church.

Actually, it's worse. Worse because the LCMS label tricks people into believing they can trust false teachings and blatant error because it's from an LCMS congregation.