Thursday, August 25, 2016

Proper 17 C - Luke 14:1, 7-14

Jesus ate and drank with Pharisees as much as he did with tax collectors and though they would not eat and drink with each other they had one thing in common. Jesus. The Congregations that left the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America in 2010 and formed the North American Lutheran Church do not recognize the church they left but we still have one thing in common. Jesus. My Missouri Synod Lutheran brothers and sisters who practice “close” communion, which closes the communion rail to all but those who are in full doctrinal agreement, believe they are protecting those who might otherwise eat and drink in an unworthy manner and do damage to themselves (1 Corinthians 11:28) but whether we eat and drink at the same table or only the ones we recognize Christ communes with us all. We have one thing in common. Jesus. I know denominational lines are important, otherwise why would we spend so much time and energy drawing them, but I am going to suggest that God is not glorified when we exclude each other from the place of grace by thinking we preserve the Gospel by holding onto the letter of the Law. If there is one place Pharisees and Tax Collectors should meet it is at the table of mercy. While we argue over who is more holy or who is more enlightened and create more institutions to preserve the integrity of our respective tables the poor have no home, the crippled can’t stand, the lame stumble and the blind cannot see. It may be too much to expect this side of the resurrection of the righteous but if we would humble ourselves perhaps the poor, crippled, lame and blind would want to eat at the table we are so keen on preserving. You might think I prefer one side over the other but that would miss the point. The table belongs to the Lord and whether we recognize each other or not the Lord has one thing in common. Us. God help Him.

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