Monday, January 03, 2005

You are not going to believe this...

One of my great parishioners is married to a great guy from the Lutheran Church in town. He attends our Catechism class with his wife and it is a really cordial arrangement.

Well, one Sunday after discussing why the Catholic Church practices closed communion, he brought me a copy of the bulletin from his congregation. You can guess how shocked I was to see the following announcement:

In Christian Love and as intended by Christ and practiced by the one, holy, Christian, and apostolic church throughout her history, "Closed Communion" is observed in this Congregation. In accordance with the word of God (Acts 2:42; I Corinthians 10:17; I Corinthians 11:27-30; Romans 16:17) the Lord's supper is distributed only to those who:
(a) Have been baptized
(b) Have been instructed in the truth of Holy Scripture and
the Lutheran Confessions and now confess these doctrines.
(c) Believe Christ's real body and real blood are truly present,
distributed, and orally received for the forgiveness of sins, life, and
(d) Who sincerely repent of all their sins, and desire to receive God's forgiveness in this holy meal.

Guests are asked to affirm these facts with our Pastor (I Corinthians 4:1) or an Elder prior to receiving the sacrament. If you are looking for a church home and would like to know more about the Christian Faith please contact our Pastor about our membership classes.

A few days after reading this, I bumped into the Lutheran pastor at the local Wal-Mart. I stopped and said to him, "I saw what you wrote in your bulletin concerning Holy Communion and I wanted to commend you for that. Thank you for acting like Holy Eucharist matters and is more than a bare symbol. Thank you on behalf of the Catholic Church." The pastor looked like I could have knocked him down with a feather.

Contrary to what some of you might be thinking, this is a positive step for the Lutheran community, if this guy is emblematic of the up and coming pastorate. Granted the statement has some interesting weak point, e.g. what does he understand "apostolic" to mean, it still shows necessary growth toward unity.

So, what's next to do? I plan to have him and his lovely wife over for dinner. After that, I will have to play by ear. Personally, I have this fantasy where I convert him and his entire congregation to the Catholic Faith. Then I could call the bishop and say, "Would you mind coming up here and assisting me with the Easter Vigil. Why? Well, I am going to be initiating the ENTIRE Lutheran congregation in Alva into the Church and without the assistance of someone else to confirm, I am going to be here all night!"

What do you guys think? What hurdles do you anticipate he will have to overcome? And remember him and his congregation in your prayers.

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