I will write something that is no surprise to anyone, we are as divided as ever. This is the sentiment that is written about every election cycle, and from what I can tell, it holds true. America is certainly a divided nation for better or worse. The church is divided as well from the universal church as a whole, divided over doctrine, practice, and even something as foundational as what the scriptures are, and what Jesus meant when he said, “This is my body.” But the universal church is not the only church divided, the Methodist church is growing in division at a significant rate, as well as many others. Some church bodies seem to seek sowing division by confessing new pagan and blasphemous creeds that make a mockery of God. Our own LCMS has its share of division as well over worship practice, closed communion, and a variety of other practical and theological issues, some that I am sure will stir up discussion at the upcoming convention.
Of course, there is division of other sorts as well. There is economic division, racial division, division of what constitutes marriage, sexuality, and gender. The list is endless. And this division is not just at a societal level, it isn’t only at an organizational level, this division seeps into every home, every marriage, every friendship, and every relationship. It slowly decays and destroys every relationship it creeps into. Yet this is what Sin does, it corrupts, perverts, and divides. It separates people from one another, ultimately reflecting the separation between creatures and their creator. Sin has done a number on us, and it has caused us to be filled with pride, filled with hatred, and filled with the desire to be our own gods.
And yet, there is a place in this world where everyone is equal. There is a place where everyone who comes is level, put upon an equal playing field. There is a place where money doesn’t matter, where ethnicity doesn’t matter, where who you voted for doesn’t matter. Where instead the only thing that matters is that you come, you kneel, you confess your sin, and you receive forgiveness. See this place is no other than the Lord’s Table. This place is where kings and peasants kneel together, united in faith, and equal in worthiness. This is the place where CEO’s and McDonald’s workers find themselves equally unworthy of God’s mercy, and yet receiving it on behalf of Christ and His work.
I know, maybe it is naïve to say that everyone is equal in the church. Of course, there will always be division until Christ returns, since that is the nature of sin. There will be those that give more money, volunteer more time, and sit on more boards and committees, and their influence is greater than others. Yet, on Sunday, when you kneel at the rail, the only thing you are is a sinner who pleads for Christ’s mercy. The only thing you are is a lost and condemned person pleading for forgiveness. No matter how big your bank account, how grievous your sin, or how you voted. Sin kills everyone, and everyone is equal when their dead. So come, to the place where everyone is equal. Kneel before Christ. Eat and drink his bountiful gifts of body and blood in bread and wine. Receive that sweet forgiveness with fellow sinners. Go to that place, where sinners become righteous, and where those divided become united.