March 16, 2008

Let God be God

"The God who is in Christ, very God and very man, is also the God that has no difficulty in being found in the bread and wine made for us the body and blood of Christ." So writes Stanley Hauerwas in his volume on St. Matthew in the Brazos series. They are well-intentioned, but I remain convinced that the Reformed will not let God be God. Imagine it! The "sovereign God" bound by the "limitation" of His infiniteness! I am so thankful to the LCMS for rescuing me from the horror of religion bound by human reason. The Reformed teaching on Sacraments is what drove me into the arms of the LCMS in 1992, and I recall vividly that beautiful morning that Spring when I, on a desperate search for Truth, showed up at First Lutheran in Boston. On that day we sang, "Search not how this takes place, This wondrous mystery; God can accomplish vastly more Than seemeth plain to thee." That one stanza answered all my questions regarding the Supper, and I am forever grateful that the Holy Ghost saw to it that this hymn was sung. Indeed, God has no difficulty in being in bread and wine if He so chooses. And He does! "Truth Himself speaks truly, or there's nothing true" (Aquinas/Hopkins).


Past Elder said...

Is First Lutheran the LCMS congregation in the Back Bay?

Christopher Esget said...

Yep, that's the one!

Past Elder said...

Oh man, no way!

And how ironic to discover that with the whole Issues Etc thing going on.

When I first went to Boston in the late 70s or so to deliver a paper to the College Music Society or something like that, I was relatively early on in my twenty or so non Christian years. Which is essence was, if the Catholic Church is wrong as it has come to be post Vatican II, then the whole Christianity thing is wrong since they were the only ones who were ever right. LCMS to me was nice try, but no cigar, it ain't the real thing, though I'd listen to Lutheran Hour broadcasts alone in my car and wonder why I can't hear stuff like that where one is supposed to and why can't I connect.

So on that trip, and the many thereafter, I'd go walking around from the "Grand Dame" or wherever the meeting was held, wander past this LCMS parish in the Back Bay, and think Those would be my guys, if I had guys.

So they kept something alive in me and I never even walked through the door!

Christopher Esget said...

When I went to Berklee (1990-1993), all the Christians I knew went to Park Street Church. I attended there for over a year, but there teaching on the Sacrament struck me as wrong. It was a friend who roomed with me in a house owned by Park Street who loaned me a copy of Walther's "Law and Gospel." Odd that he had it, because he had no connection to Lutheranism. When I finished that, I started in reading Chemnitz, "The Lord's Supper." While reading that I went to check out First Lutheran. I have very fond memories of walking through the Back Bay to and from that wonderful church - it was a great time in my life, and the vicars there were instrumental in pointing me towards seminary.

I'm glad you've found "your guys" now!

Past Elder said...

More no way!

I've been to Park Street Church many times, though not for services but functions of other groups meeting there. Likewise the Newman Center just down the street, which is Kerrey's parish. In either place, the stuff posted about their own functions told me it was not the place for me as church, any more than the UU further down (up,actually). The closest I came to contact with anyone was a verbal shoot-out with a priest at the RC chapel in the Pru!

One of the great ironies is that after leaving teaching and music, my last visits to Boston started with proton therapy treatment for my wife's cancer at the General, which could not save her but did give her three more months, allowing our second son to be born.

My last visit was in 2001, which it looks like will truly be my last visit.