Reformation Day approaches and as it does I feel the burden of the divided Church. It is not the way it ought to be. However, it is as it must be this side of heaven.
Saying that, however, has proven not to be very popular. To make the claim that the differences in what we believe actually MATTER - matter to the point where we will not be in altar and pulpit fellowship - is almost like farting loudly in a room full of people. People look at you with both shock and disgust.
I have been asked to take part in a joint Service with other denominational clergy particpating a few times in our community and when I decline people seem offended. In our day where we have such nonesensical sayings as "reconciled diversity" passing as wisdom - the way we Lutheran Church Canada folk approach doctrine seems unintelligeble to many. Many would say that the differences in beliefs are not significant and not worthy of causing division. We maintian that the differences in beliefs are the sole reason for maintiaing the divisions.
So, it has me thinking, as we approach Reformation Day. For those who truly believe in "reconciled diversity" and do not believe that the differences in what you believe matter - why not fold all those church bodies into one big church body? In fact - is it not sinful to maintain the divisions if they don't really matter anyway? For example, in Canada the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada and the Anglicans have declared themselves in fellowship. Then why have two church bodies? If the differences don't matter then why not dissolve the ELCIC and join the Anglican Church of Canada - or vice versa?