September 3, 2008 - Wednesday of the 15th Sunday after Trinity

Daily Lectionary: 1 Kings 19:1-21; Ephesians 3:1-21

Who receives this sacrament worthily?
Fasting and bodily preparation are certainly fine outward training. But that 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 them is unworthy and unprepared, for the words "for you" require all hearts to believe. (Small Catechism)

In the Name + of Jesus. Amen. There is an old tradition that a person should not eat any food on Sunday until they have received the Lord's body and blood in the Sacrament of the Altar. This practice reminds us that the most important food we eat is not our Lucky Charms or bacon and eggs, but Christ's holy body given unto death and His holy blood shed on the cross for our sins. But, is it OUR preparation that makes us worthy to receive the Sacrament?

What can you do to get ready for the Sacrament? What sort of preparation can you carry out to be worthy when you come to Christ's altar? Actually, nothing! Just as in salvation, it is all Jesus' work to take away your sins, so it is Jesus who prepares you to receive His body and blood. How does He prepare you? He washes away your sins in Holy Baptism (“Wash up for dinner!”) He calls you to His altar by reminding you your sins are forgiven (“In the stead and by the command of Christ”) and He Himself is your worthiness and righteousness when you open your mouth to receive His body and blood.

Oh, sure, you could come unworthily. You could come not wanting your sins forgiven, preferring to hang on to them yourself. But then the Supper is nothing but glass and ashes in your mouth! Christ gives you His body and blood to take away your sins! And when you eat and drink His body and blood, your sins are taken away!

To get ready for the Sacrament is to be in Christ. It is to know your sins are bad--damnable in fact. Yet, to prepare for the Sacrament is to confess: “I go to eat Jesus' body and blood, because that gift takes away the sins that otherwise would condemn me!” That's all Jesus' work. On the cross and at His altar. In the Name of Jesus. Amen.

Soul, adorn yourself with gladness, Leave the gloomy haunts of sadness, Come into the daylight's splendor, There with joy your praises render. Bless the One whose grace unbounded This amazing banquet founded; He, though heav'nly, high, and holy, Deigns to dwell with you most lowly. (LSB 636:1)