Monday, April 16, 2012

Down To Earth

The sun shone bright in a clear sky as the little jet dipped into a landscape of red soil intersected by a brown river.

If that sentence is overwritten it's because I'm really, really tired. My flight to Oklahoma City was 50 minutes late in arriving. Further delays on the ground meant that I missed the first event of the Lutheran Ecumenical and inter-religious Representatives Network (LERN) gathering: lunch. I finally had a granola bar and a bottle of Dr. Pepper around 3:30 this afternoon.

My afternoon was filled with meeting new friends and catching up with an old one. There was a lengthy meeting where I got to hear about the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America's ecumenical and inter-religious activities of the last year.

I'm proud to be a part of a church that works toward actualizing our unity in Christ. The ELCA has full Communion agreements with 6 other church bodies and is in ongoing conversation with several others.

This evening I attended the opening worship of the National Workshop on Christian Unity. Participants in the service included Lutherans, Episcopalians, Disciples of Christ, Baptists, Methodists, Roman Catholics, Presbyterians and I hope I haven't forgotten anyone!

The homily was given by the Most Rev. Paul Coakley, archbishop of Oklahoma City. He spoke about the 50th anniversary of Vatican II. He talked about "deeper unity in truth and charity." Perhaps most tellingly he addressed this diverse group as "My dear brothers and sisters in Christ...."

We worshiped there in a unity that was not born of shared doctrine or common practice. It was not a unity of polity or theology or institutional cohesiveness. We worshiped together in a commitment, rather, to the same Lord, and in a desire to obey Jesus' command, somehow, to love one another.

And so to bed.

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