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Thesis 35: Communion Without Community

This post is part of a series of meditations on each of Luther's "95 Theses." You can view all posts in the series here.

35. They preach no Christian doctrine who teach that contrition is not necessary in those who intend to buy souls out of purgatory or to buy confessionalia.

Growing up United Methodist, I recall plenty of lazy theology around communion, but nothing that was particularly egregious. The part of the communion liturgy that I recall most clearly, though, was the prayer of confession. Though the moment of silence frequently felt a bit too short for me to calm my soul and admit my sin, it was a claim upon the power of contrition to effect real forgiveness. As I emptied myself of pride, ego, and a claim to being right, I allowed room for God and God's claim on me and my actions in the world.

As a Methodist, I also try to approach the Table with an awareness of both my own individual sin and my contribution to corporate sin. What are the ways in which I've…

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