I belong to the Society of the Holy Trinity. It is a Ministerium(order) of pastors who have been ordained in Lutheran churches throughout North America. This would include ELCA,ELCIC(Canada), LCMS, NALC, and even smaller bodies of Lutheran denominations. What brings us together is our commitment to the Catholic creeds and Augsburg Confession. We are all signed to the rule that we are ordained to the ministry of the Word and the sacraments. You can read more information about the rule and more at societyholytrinity.org
Every year we have a General Retreat. The retreats are held at St. Mary of the Lake University Conference Center in Mundelein, Illinois, a Roman Catholic institution. Our theme this year is “The Ecumenical Horizon on the Eve of the Anniversary of the Reformation.” Both Lutherans and Catholics are taking part in the 500th Anniversary of the Reformation. They are coming together on points of agreement and having further dialogue. Pope Francis will actually partipate in a joint Lutheran-Catholic worship service in Sweden this October to commemorate the 500 anniversary as one of the events this year. The STS retreat had two speakers talking about relations with the Lutherans. Father Elijah Mueller from the Orthodox Church and Dr. Susan Wood, a Catholic sister of Charity and professor of Systematic theology at Marquette University. I did not get to hear the lecture from Dr. Susan Wood but I did hear Father Mueller’s lecture on Orthodox and Lutheran dialogue. Speaking not as an expert on relationships between the two traditions he did mention the work of Risto Saarinen. His webpage discusses Lutheran-Orthodox relations. He also mentioned the issue that has not been discussed in the dialogue between Lutheran and Orthodox is asceticism. He thinks this is where we can have common ground on. Mueller says it is the judicial aspect of Justification which the Orthodox rejects. This is a product of what was going on in the Middle Ages. It is Luther’s response to the medieval Catholic Church and a good response that we are justified by Christ and by his sacrifice on the cross. Mueller adds that this is a good response to the legalism and the abuse of some of the unhealthy aspects of the penitentiary practices and abuse of power by the Catholic Church at that time. Orthodox would agree that justification was by faith in Christ and not by the works of the law. But that only describes a moment. However, it does not address the ontological problem. He goes on to describe theosis, liturgical character of the Bible in the Jewish and Christian temple, and other good stuff. Funny Quote: “We need to be Fundamentalists on the liturgy not on the scripture.” The historic Christian liturgy matters! To get the full context of the lecture you can watch the video on my Facebook page.