Wednesday, August 31, 2011

LSC Wednesday #6: "The Sacrament of the Altar"

This is a short series of Wednesday postings taking us through Luther's Small Catechism.


As the Head of a Family Should Teach It in a Simple Way to His Household

What is the Sacrament of the Altar?
Answer: It is the true body and blood of our Lord Jesus Christ, under the bread and wine, for us Christians to eat and to drink, instituted by Christ Himself.

Where is this written?
Answer: The holy Evangelists, Matthew, Mark, Luke, and St. Paul, write:

Our Lord Jesus Christ, on the night He was betrayed, took bread, and when He had given thanks, He broke it and gave it to the disciples and said: “Take, eat; this is My body, which is given for you. This do in remembrance of Me.”

In the same way also, He took the cup after supper, and when He had given thanks, He gave it to them, saying: “Drink of it, all of you; this is My blood of the new testament, which is shed for you for the forgiveness of sins. This do, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of Me.”
What is the benefit of such eating and drinking?
Answer: That is shown us in these words, “Given for you” and “shed for you for the forgiveness of sins.” This means that in the Sacrament forgiveness of sins, life, and salvation are given us through these words. For where there is forgiveness of sins, there is also life and salvation.

How can bodily eating and drinking do such great things?
Answer: It is not the eating and drinking, indeed, that does them, but the words, which are given here, “Given … and shed for you, for the forgiveness of sins.” These words are, beside the bodily eating and drinking, the chief thing in the Sacrament. The person who believes these words has what they say and express, namely, the forgiveness of sins.

Who, then, receives such Sacrament worthily?Answer: Fasting and bodily preparation are, indeed, fine outward training. But a person is truly worthy and well prepared who has faith in these words, “Given … and shed for you for the forgiveness of sins.”

But anyone who does not believe these words, or doubts, is unworthy and unfit. For the words “for you” require hearts that truly believe.

Concordia : The Lutheran Confessions. Edited by Paul Timothy McCain. St. Louis, MO : Concordia Publishing House, 2005, S. 343
Jesus Juva,
Sole Deo Gloria

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