Daily Reflection
September 17th, 2007

Barbara Dilly

Department of Sociology and Anthropology
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There is much to reflect on in the readings for today. What most touches me is the charge to pray for everyone and to be without anger and resentment with each other because God wills everyone to be saved. As a Christian, I have always believed that God gave Christ Jesus as a ransom for us all. The belief that we are all the same in the eyes of God is sometimes difficult for some Christians to accept. That’s way I particularly appreciate the use of the words “Lord, I am not worthy to receive you, only say the word and I shall be healed” in the Roman Catholic tradition of the sacrament of Holy Communion. We do not say those words in the Lutheran tradition. In fact, there are many theological differences that divide us on the meaning of this sacrament that keep us from a shared communion. And while I grieve with Jesus that we are not yet one, I continue to pray for more Christian unity.

I am comforted to know that Lutherans confess that we believe in the Holy catholic church that includes all Christian believers. And since many words of our liturgies are so similar, I always feel comfortable in a Catholic worship service. But it is enough different that I pick up on variations like the use of the words “Lord, I am not worthy to receive you, only say the word and I shall be healed” in the sacrament of Holy Communion. I have reflected on these words many times. They are powerful and they heighten my sense of my unworthiness when I ask God for forgiveness of my sins. But it is even more important to me to know that my openness to God is all that is necessary to heal me from the brokenness and pain of my sins. It isn’t about what we do, but what God does that is important. So whether we believe that we receive the body and blood as Roman Catholics believe, or the bread and wine as some Protestants believe, or both as Lutherans believe, I don’t think matters as much as our shared belief that God wills everyone to be saved and it is God who saves us, not our own worthiness. So today I am praying, as I always do, for Christian unity in terms of our human generated theological perspectives. But I am also giving thanks for the unity that God brings to us through Christ our Lord and the Gospel message.

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