Thurs. March 21

Thursday March 21, 2019

Today’s Focus                                              The Sacrament of the Altar            

 Today’s Scripture Reading                                     Acts 2:41-47              

All the believers devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching, and to fellowship, and to sharing in meals (including the Lord’s Supper[i]), and to prayer.

43 A deep sense of awe came over them all, and the apostles performed many miraculous signs and wonders. 44 And all the believers met together in one place and shared everything they had. 45 They sold their property and possessions and shared the money with those in need. 46 They worshiped together at the Temple each day, met in homes for the Lord’s Supper, and shared their meals with great joy and generosity[j]47 all the while praising God and enjoying the goodwill of all the people. And each day the Lord added to their fellowship those who were being saved.

 Daily Reflection                                             Luther’s “The Sacrament of the Altar”

What is the Sacrament of the altar?

It is the true Body and Blood of our Lord Jesus Christ under the bread and wine, instituted by Christ Himself for us Christians to eat and to drink.

Where is this written?

The holy evangelists, Matthew, Mark, and Luke, and St. Paul write thus:

In the night in which He was betrayed, our Lord Jesus took bread, and gave thanks; broke it, and gave it to His disciples, saying:  “Take and eat; this is My Body, given for you.  Do this for the remembrance of me.

Again, after supper, He took the cup, gave thanks, and gave it for all to drink, saying:  This cup is the new covenant (which means promise) in My blood, shed for you and for all people for the forgiveness of sin.  Do this for the remembrance of Me.

What is the Benefit of such eating and drinking?

            The words “given for you” and “shed for you for the forgiveness of sin” show us that forgiveness of sin, life, and salvation are given to us in the sacrament through these words, because where there is forgiveness of sins, there is also life and salvation.

How can Bodily eating and drinking do such a great thing?

Eating and drinking certainly do not do it, but rather the words that are recorded: “given for you” and “shed for you for the forgiveness of sin.”  These words, when accompanied by the .  physical eating and drinking, are the essential thing in the sacrament, and whoever believes these very words has what they declare and state, namely forgiveness of sin.

Who, then, receives this sacrament worthily?

Fasting and bodily preparation are in fact a fine external discipline, but a person who has faith in these words, “given for you” and “shed for you for the forgiveness of sin,” is really worthy and well prepared.  However, a person who does not believe these words or doubts them is unworthy and unprepared, because the words “for you” require truly believing hearts.

Some questions for reflection

  • During our life time, we have seen the frequency, the method, the distribution of Holy Communion adjusted. Do you think that Holy Communion is still as vital to our faith today as it was to the faith of those who first received it?
  • Do you think “many miraculous signs and wonders” are still applicable in the church today?

Today’s discipleship challenge

  • Share with your group, or with someone you trust, you favorite part or your favorite story which includes Holy Communion. Maybe it was your first Holy Communion, or an experience that you had during Holy Communion.

 Today’s prayer

          Gracious God, We give You thanks, that You continually refresh us through the healing and the power of a shared meal in Your presence.  In Your mercy always help us to feel Your strength through this remarkable gift.  Allow us to use this holy meal to strengthen our faith toward You and allow this meal to inspire us in fervent love toward one another; for the sake of Jesus Christ our Lord.  Amen