Given for YOU (plural!)
Devotional/Discussion Thought of the Day:
2 How I want to be there! I long to be in the LORD’S Temple. With my whole being I sing for joy to the living God. 3 Even the sparrows have built a nest, and the swallows have their own home; they keep their young near your altars, LORD Almighty, my King and my God. 4 How happy are those who live in your Temple, always singing praise to you. Psalm 84:2-4 (TEV)
22. Whenever the Sacrament of Baptism is duly administered as Our Lord instituted it, and is received with the right dispositions, a person is truly incorporated into the crucified and glorified Christ, and reborn to a sharing of the divine life, as the Apostle says: “You were buried together with Him in Baptism, and in Him also rose again-through faith in the working of God, who raised Him from the dead”.40
Baptism therefore establishes a sacramental bond of unity which links all who have been reborn by it. But of itself Baptism is only a beginning, an inauguration wholly directed toward the fullness of life in Christ. Baptism, therefore, envisages a complete profession of faith, complete incorporation in the system of salvation such as Christ willed it to be, and finally complete ingrafting in eucharistic communion. (1)
“…for, thank God, a seven-year-old child knows what the church is, namely, holy believers and sheep who hear the voice of their Shepherd,” etc.”
I am sitting in my office, the first day “back” from a short vacation with my mother.
I am filled with anticipation for tomorrow, even as I thumb through my mail and lose some of that joy. For some would try and use their “authority” to convince me what i know about my congregation isn’t true with the church at large. That somehow there is a “us and them” in the Church.
You see, there is something special, something sacred, as the people of God are gathered to the altar, and as baptized believers, share in the body and blood of Christ. As I communed at another congregation on the other side of the United States last week, my heart looked forward to being “home”.
That is how I look at the divisions that exist in the Church. There are some that won’t be healed until we are all home, before the Father. He will settle the squabbles that exist between various siblings in the church. But being “home” means celebrating the feast with all who are believe and are baptised. For from God’s perspective, we cannot deny our brothers and our sisters, united in Christ at baptism, are indeed brothers and sisters in Christ Jesus.
Some discuss this in arrogance and pride, rather than sorrow and regret They put in roadblocks to the unity that is the Church in Christ by focusing ont he division, not the hope. They weep, not over the brokenness of the church, but over those who would look to that brokenness being healed in Christ. ( By the way, I am not talking of just one incident, or from just my own denomination)
I love the way Vatican II puts it in the quote above – we are linked together, all who are reborn in Christ. It’s a beginning, a start to seeing us all linked at the altar, the foretaste of the feast to come. Our baptism gives the vision of what should be, what will be in Heaven, and yes, something that should be worked towards here. Not dismissed with a – well that is them, and this is us mentality.
I also love the way the Lutheran confessions, in a section that deals with those (the Roman Catholic hierarchy at that time – but equally applicable to divisive types of today) describe the church as a child would, “the believers and sheep who hear the voice of their Shepherd.”
I read those words and hear the voice of Jesus, “take and eat, this is my Body, given for you” and “take, drink of this all of you, it is my blood of the new covenant, shed for you for the forgiveness of sin”
There is our goal, to hear the voice of the Shepherd, to grow in unity until we realize that we are one in Christ. Just as He and the Father are One. What begins in baptism is our goal, our desire, just as it is His. Complete unity, because He has lovingly healed the brokenness, giving us new life.
It is that unity in Christ, the miraculous unity of baptism in Christ, that gives me joy. I look forward to sharing in that unity tomorrow, as people gather here, as they hear of the peace promised and given by the Lamb of God, as they commune together with God. As we deal with division, as we deal with brokenness and separation, may we never forget that His feast is what we were re-born to share.
His love, His unity, trusting in Him and His work.
Lord, Have mercy on us all.
(1) Catholic Church. (2011). Decree on Ecumenism: Unitatis Redintegratio. In Vatican II Documents. Vatican City: Libreria Editrice Vaticana.
(2) Tappert, T. G. (Ed.). (1959). The Book of Concord the confessions of the Evangelical Lutheran Church. (p. 614). Philadelphia: Mühlenberg Press.
Posted on April 25, 2015, in Augsburg and Trent, Devotions and tagged Abiding in Christ, absolution, apostolate, baptism, brokenness, cHesed, Christ, Church, Communion, Denominations, Division in the Church. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.