Blonde moment

And the silver spoon.

Sunday, May 06, 2007

On communion…

Pastor has been doing a series on I Corinthians during adult Bible Hour. So, now is the time to talk about Holy Communion. He gave a great explanation of the Lutheran stance on Communion.

It brought to mind something I read in Luther’s Small Catechism .

“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 works 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.” (Sacrament of the Alter)

So, when we receive Holy Communion, we are receiving Christ’s body and blood that has been given for us personally. The elements give me, personally, forgiveness of sins, life, and salvation.

And, because of the difficulties the reformers were having with the tyranny of the pope and were fleeing Sacrament, “’When someone does not seek or desire the Sacrament at least four times a year, it is to be feared that he despises the Sacrament and is not a Christian, just as a person is not a Christian who does not believe or hear the Gospel.’ For Christ did not say, ‘Leave this out, or despise this,’ but, ‘Do this, as often as you drink it,’ and other such words. Truly, he wants it done, and not entirely neglected and despised. ‘Do this,’ he says.” (Preface)

The practice of Evangelical denominations seems to be, “Let us take communion, not often because it is ritualistic, rather just often enough so we are not considered heretics.” And this is, I believe, where Evangelicals miss the point of liturgy.

Is it bad to recite a Psalm, a prayer of contrition, receive absolution, recite the Creeds of the faith, regularly receive Holy Communion, and recite the Lord’s Prayer? No! The reason some give for not practicing Divine Liturgy is: Well, we get so used to the rituals that we quit meaning them. This casts judgment on fellow believers. Who is to say that I do not mean the words of the Lord’s Prayer other then me and God? And who is to deny me the opportunity to do so?

I’m writing this as I am enjoying a cheap (but nice) glass of wine. (I like cheap wine. I *love* Josh’s step-dad’s strawberry wine…) If I were to let it be known amongst certain of my family that I enjoy cheap wine (and Amaretto, but not together*) I would be cast as a sinner because of the strictures placed upon Evangelicals. (By the way, why do you go fishing with two Baptists instead of one? One Baptist will drink all your beer; two will hold each other accountable for their sobriety… Thanks Sam.) Yet, Evangelicals will not recite The Lord’s Prayer though Jesus said it is how we should pray.

So, which is better, the rituals of the faith which teach us truths about Christianity, or performing acts of legalism? When I receive communion, I know I receive assurance of the personal nature of the Gospel. And when I observe others receive communion, I receive assurance of Universal Atonement. I receive forgiveness of sins. And the true Body and Blood of our Lord and Savior strengthens and preserves me in the faith until that day when He comes again! I pray others learn to receive this assurance.

*Note that once I did have champagne and amaretto in a cocktail. Odd as it sounded, it also had cherry liquor, and it was pretty good. Not sure if it was just a Valentine’s Day special at The Bar Rouge, but that’s where one would find it.


  • At 7:35 PM , Blogger Barb the Evil Genius said...

    I didn't know that about Evangelicals and the Lord's Prayer! I guess I don't hang out with too many of them now that I am out of college.

    I did have a discussion once with a non-denominational guy about communion. He claimed Lutherans believe that the act of eating and drinking is what gives us the forgiveness of sins, and I kept telling him no! It says right there in the catechism that "It is not the eating and drinking..." You can tell me what I believe is wrong, but don't tell me the wrong thing about what I believe!!

    My husband is Italian; he grew up making pretty strong wine with his grandfather. I personally prefer vodka and orange juice with a splash of cranberry juice.


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