Unity of the Church, Seen in the Ministry of Reconciling People to Jesus…
Devotional Thought of the Day
11 (He, Jesus) filled earth with his gifts. He handed out gifts of apostle, prophet, evangelist, and pastor-teacher 12 to train Christians in skilled servant work, working within Christ’s body, the church, 13 until we’re all moving rhythmically and easily with each other, efficient and graceful in response to God’s Son, fully mature adults, fully developed within and without, fully alive like Christ. Ephesians 4:11-13 (MSG)
2. The Church was founded for the purpose of spreading the kingdom of Christ throughout the earth for the glory of God the Father, to enable all men to share in His saving redemption, and that through them the whole world might enter into a relationship with Christ. (1)
The person who wants only the God whom he has invented for himself—how is he to be certain that there is a God, how is he to love one who never answers him? But God has come to meet us in our groping search. He speaks to us in the community of faith, he challenges us, he lives among us. That know-it-all pride that wants to put itself above the Faith of the Church and her living community inevitably ends in an aversion for God and for itself. In the community that God himself has formed and that comes to us from his love, he can be loved in return. It need hardly be said, then, that love of God is never a private relationship between me and him who is both mystery and eternity. The community that he created includes me; hence this love is returned to it and transcends it because God wants to unite all of us in a single city of eternal peace (2)
7 Moreover, the people are instructed often and with great diligence concerning the holy sacrament, why it was instituted, and how it is to be used (namely, as a comfort for terrified consciences) in order that the people may be drawn to the Communion and Mass. The people are also given instruction about other false teachings concerning the sacrament.
2 Meanwhile no conspicuous changes have been made in the public ceremonies of the Mass, except that in certain places German hymns are sung in addition to the Latin responses for the instruction and exercise of the people.
3 After all, the chief purpose of all ceremonies is to teach the people what they need to know about Christ (3)
I’ve been thinking a lot of the differences in the churches recently. I hate the divisions that exist in the one, holy, catholic and apostolic church we confess in the creeds. .Even as I respect the people who take the division seriously, and lament it, even as they recognize the need for it. (that is another blog… we can’t simply dismiss the differences)
One of the things we do agree on, is the need of people to know Jesus, not just to know of Him, but to know Him. Which means being drawn to Him, to find Him in the midst of His people, the life of Christ into which we are called is lined in the community of faith.
Both Vatican II and the Lutheran Confessions agree on this, as would most pastors, even if we don’t agree on what the church looks like, the need of Jesus’ involvement in people’s lives is their greatest need.
For knowing Christ brings joy, even as it removes all guilt and shame. Knowing Him means that our brokenness is being healed, that our lives have meaning that extends beyond this moment. The mission, the apostolate that God entrusts to us is incredible.
Incredible because of the change that occurs in the life of the disciple.
Incredible because of the trust God places in us.
Incredible in view of the unity we find with each other, as we find ourselves in God’s presence. In His finding us, we end up finding each other….and as we see people come to know God’s mercy, they become part of His people. That we are being bound together in Him extends over all other things that could divide us, even as we struggle (or should struggle) to see those things settled, not as compromises, but as brothers with one goal – being in Christ Jesus.
Therefore, the hope of unity is there… because He is.
Lord, bring you church together, reveal to us that we are one, even as you and the Father are one. Lord have mercy upon us. AMEN..
(1) Catholic Church. (2011). Decree on the Apostolate of the Laity: Apostolicam Actuositatem. In Vatican II Documents. Vatican City: Libreria Editrice Vaticana.Ratzinger, J. (1992). Co-Workers of the Truth: Meditations for Every Day of the Year. (M. F. McCarthy & L. Krauth, Trans., I. Grassl, Ed.) (p. 226). San Francisco: Ignatius Press
(2) Ratzinger, J. (1992). Co-Workers of the Truth: Meditations for Every Day of the Year. (M. F. McCarthy & L. Krauth, Trans., I. Grassl, Ed.) (p. 226). San Francisco: Ignatius Press.
Tappert, T. G. (Ed.). (1959). The Book of Concord the confessions of the Evangelical Lutheran Church. (p. 56). Philadelphia: Mühlenberg Press.
Posted on July 15, 2015, in Augsburg and Trent, Devotions and tagged Abiding in Christ, apostolate, Augsburg Confession, Christ, Luther, mission of the church, need, roman catholic church, spirituality, Unity of the Church, Vatican II. Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.