The word Church really means nothing other than a common gathering. It ought to be called "a Christian congregation or gathering" or "holy Christendom."
So also the word communio, which is added, ought not to be translated "communion," but "congregation." It is nothing else than an interpretation or explanation to show what the Christian Church is. It ought to be "a congregation of saints"; that is, a congregation made up purely of saints, or, to speak yet more plainly, "a holy congregation." I say this in order that the words "communion of saints" may be understood. The expression has become so established by custom that it cannot be cast aside easily.
But this is the meaning and substance of this addition: I believe that there is upon earth a little holy group and congregation of pure saints, under one head, even Christ. This group is called together by the Holy Spirit in one faith, one mind, and understanding, with many different gifts, yet agreeing in love, without sects or schisms. I am also a part and member of this same group, a sharer and joint owner of all the goods it possesses. I am brought to it and incorporated into it by the Holy Spirit through having heard and continuing to hear God's Word, which is the beginning of entering it. In the past, before we had attained to this, we were altogether of the devil, knowing nothing about God and about Christ. (paragraphs 48-52)
Condensed from CONCORDIA: THE LUTHERAN CONFESSIONS, copyright 2005,2006 by Concordia Publishing House. Used by permission. All rights reserved. To purchase a copy of CONCORDIA, call 800-325-3040.