Today’s Reading: Small Catechism: Sacrament of the Altar, part 4
“Given and shed for you for the forgiveness of sins.” These words, along with the bodily eating and drinking, are the main thing in the Sacrament. Whoever believes these words has exactly what they say: “forgiveness of sins.” (Small Catechism: Sacrament of the Altar, part 4)
In the Name + of Jesus. Amen. Does your diet define you? Do you eat to live or live to eat? The answer to those questions probably depends on what you are eating and why. Some meals are celebrations while others are merely fuel stops to keep you going. We eat a variety of things for a variety of reasons often without thinking too much about it. Regular family dinners, holiday meals, burgers from the drive-thru, and even the last stale pop-tart from the back of the pantry can be part of what we eat on any given day. No matter the what or the why this kind of eating is mainly about our bodily life. For better or worse, what we eat has an effect on our physical health.
The Sacrament of the Altar, on the other hand, is a completely different kind of eating. Here is a meal that delivers far more than nutrition. It has even been called the medicine of immortality. This eating is about our spiritual life. Here is a meal that strengthens faith and forgives sins. Here is a meal that is specifically given to and for the Christian. This is the meal of the baptized. This is a meal that is God’s gift to you. This is a meal where God serves you. Communion is not something that you do, it is something that you receive. This is a meal where Jesus himself is present giving Himself to you. Here is a place where what happened on the cross for all is applied to you personally.
What makes this eating so special? This is a meal instituted by Christ for his followers. This is a meal that combines the elements with the Word and promise of God. This is a meal where in and under the bread and wine are the body and blood of Jesus given and shed for you for the forgiveness of sins. This is a meal that benefits you in the here and now while at the same time serving as a foretaste of the feast to come. In the Name + of Jesus. Amen.
Thy body, given for me, O Savior, Thy blood which Thou for me didst shed, These are my life and strength forever, By them my hungry soul is fed. Lord, may Thy body and Thy blood Be for my soul the highest good! (Thy Body, Given for Me, O Savior LSB 619 st 1)
-Pastor Grant Knepper is the pastor at Zion Lutheran Church, Hillsboro, Oregon.
Audio Reflections Speaker: Rev. Duane Bamsch
Study Christ’s words on the cross to see how you can show more Christlike grace in your life. Perfect for group or individual study, each chapter has a Q&A at the end, and the back of the book includes a leader guide. Available now from Concordia Publishing House.