Ok, so I was too focused on the expression of the church on earth and not on the God of the Church.
I attended a church service today put on by "Trinity Lutheran Church" at a nursing home with my relative. I had no idea what type of Lutheran they might be, but I expected to feel the comfort of the liturgy and to pray and to worship, etc. And my expectations were well met. There was also a very good strong sermon, which was more than I expected because so many of that "congregation" were in wheelchairs, hunched over. I thought that might be simplified or shortened.
But I knew during the first sentence that I was in slightly unfamiliar territory. The service was opened in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost. I think it has been probably 45 years since I've heard about the Ghost.
Oops. And he had communion set out.
But we had a confession and I, along with all the people in the wheelchairs, hunched over, participating or not, were declared to have our sins forgiven.
And so, we all were served communion. Praise God. There was no hesitation on the part of the pastor.
There was a common cup. I have even bigger reservations about that in the nursing home setting than in church, but I guess there are germs everywhere anyway. [About a month ago, a really bad virus swept through that nursing facility and through the town, so there are good reasons for the warning signs on the door about not visiting if you have any signs of sickness.]
But how ironic. The Lutheran sub-denomination that I sought to avoid was the very one that served me communion.
And my own sub-denomination, that I attended yesterday, didn't have communion for Ash Wednesday.