Sunday, September 26, 2010

What An Amazing Thought

Sitting here early in the morning preparing for the Divine Service, I cannot help but think of those parishes and Pastors who are doing the very same thing right now.  All across the US and, indeed, the world, people are readying the Lord's table in order to come together at His bidding to be absolved of their sin, to hear His Word, and to eat His body and drink His blood.  It is overwhelming on the small scale of one parish -- the people gathered around this awesome and blessed mystery -- but it is incomprehensible on the larger scale of the Church catholic.

We hear from Scripture the same message over and over again -- you are not alone.  Today on Sunday morning we realize it in a most profound way.  The people of God are gathered in every place just as they are in this place.  No, we are not alone.  Not the little Lutheran parish on the prairie of Nebraska in a white clapboard building... not the cosmopolitan urban parish where people walk down the block to a stone structure that has stood there so many years... not the suburban parish in brick and stucco that followed the exodus of people from city centers and rural areas to row after row of cookie cutter homes... not the ethnic parish of Swedes or Norwegians or Germans that has a rich and common history to unite them... not the diverse parish of a people whose last names read like a globe... not the mountain parish where the landscape almost competes with the altar for the attention of the people... not the desert parish of adobe and sun baked brick...  no, none of us are alone... and on Sunday morning I feel the presence of so many who join like me to lead, who gather like the people in this place to hear and receive, and who join in hymn and chant and liturgy.

The "aloneness" of sin has been answered in the God who is Emmanuel, with us always and everywhere, and with a people who have become our brothers, sisters, and family in faith -- whether we know them personally or not.  Community is the word of the Church -- of bidden people who gather in Christ's name to receive His gifts and respond with praise, prayer, and thanksgiving.  On Sunday morning the world literally pulses with the heartbeats of Christians too many to count but God knows them each and every one.

This thought becomes powerful fact and reality to be apprehended with faith sight if not eye sight when, with angels, archangels, and all the company of heaven we laud and magnify Thy holy name, evermore singing:  Holy, Holy, Holy Lord, God Sabaoth!  What a glorious Sunday it will be and already is.


ErnestO said...

"Lord, I pray this morning the words of Jonathan Edwards:
'Resolved... that all men would live for the glory of God; resolved, second...that if nobody else does, I will.' Amen."

Anonymous said...

Apparently we do the same thing in the moments before the Divine Service in our little outposts of the Church. I often think of you in the "southern northeast", of Paul Sauer, John Hannah, John Flieschman in the Atlantic region, of Carl Voges in the Carolinas, of too many folks to name in the heart of "Lutherland", of Todd Arnold in San Francisco, of Peter Jacobson in the bread-basket, and Dave Wendel in the mountains of Colorado, and Don Schatz in Northern California, and the list goes on an one.

The Reformed have so much trouble believing that Jesus can be bodily present in all of our altars, not to mention those of the Roman and Orthodox and those between.

What an amazing thought, indeed...