Why do we call it the catholic church in the creed when we are Lutherans?
The word “catholic” with a lowercase “C” means universal. If you look it up in the dictionary, you will find this definition:
1. broad or wide ranging in tastes, interests, or the like; having sympathies with all; broad minded; liberal.
2. universal in extent; involving all; of interest to all.
3. pertaining to the whole Christian body or church.
So we are part of the universal church. That means we are part of the church in every time and every place. During communion I am united with my best friend in St. Petersburg, Russia and I'm united with my friend who is a seminary professor in Nigeria, at the same time I'm united with my grandmother who is playing organ at St. Paul, Pontiac 70 years ago. During communion I'm also serving communion at my ordination service at United Lutheran, Oak Park just as I am taking communion for the first time with friends I haven't seen in 41 years. You fill in your people and places. It's an amazing concept.
Also we are Lutheran. As part of the Lutheran World Federation. we are part of 72 million Lutherans who are part of 145 churches across the world. As part of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA) we also share communion with the Episcopal Church, the Presbyterian Church, the Moravian Church, Reformed Church in America, the United Methodist Church, and the United Church of Christ. Do you have any friends who are members of these churches? When we have communion we share our unity in Christ with these people too. That is what "catholic" means.