Sundays by Nicholas Bratcher
"This is not an Episcopal Table, or a Lutheran Table, this is God's Table."
These words, spoken by Brad before communion every Sunday evening, encompass a certain inspiration for me, as I write about my experience with LCM|Canterbury. Our worship is much like it is in "big church." We use traditional spoken liturgy based on the Episcopal Book of Common Prayer, sing the hymns out of the red Evangelical Lutheran Worship book, and do the readings from the Revised Common Lectionary. About as similar as you would get. Yet, we really are more than just "Lutherans" or "Episcopalians". While we have a sermon every service just as in the "big church," we don't have to save our comments and thoughts for coffee hour after the service. Rather, we dive straight in as soon as Brad or one of our guest preachers, such as Adam or Lynn, finishes their thoughts, and we express our own.
If diverse is how we describe the ELCA or The Episcopal Church, it is not more apparent than in these discussions. Some of us are cradle ELCA Lutherans or Episcopalians, like Allie or Brad, and have distinct views on how scripture is interpreted.
Some of us are from other traditions, be they Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod, Roman Catholic, or Evangelical, like myself, and some may not have been raised Christian or in any faith for that matter. Because of this, we all bring different insights into what it means to be truly Christian, we help people better understand scriptural meanings that may have seemed obscure before. We have also dived into the history of scriptures, which is important when understanding and interpreting them correctly. Sometimes we may disagree with certain ideas based on our background, but we all have a respect for others' convictions, and we come away with more knowledge than we had before, and in the words of Phillips Brooks, "been granted some new vision of thy truth."
These sermons/discussions are one of the highlights of my week, not only because I get to learn more about God's word and who God is, but because I am able to call these people my friends. We all have different views of who we are, and what it means to be Christian, yet we are all one just the same. To paraphrase Brad's words about the table: "We are not Episcopal Children, or Lutheran Children, we are God's Children."
This story was featured in LCM|Canterbury's Fall 2019 Newsletter.