Take and Eat
“For I received from the Lord what I also passed on to you: The Lord Jesus, on the night he was betrayed, took bread, and when he had given thanks, he broke it and said, ‘This is my body, which is for you; do this in remembrance of me.’ In the same way, after supper he took the cup, saying, ‘This cup is the new covenant in my blood; do this, whenever you drink it, in remembrance of me.’ For whenever you eat this bread and drink this cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death until he comes.” – 1 Corinthians 11:23-26
Communion, the Lord’s Supper, the Eucharist, or the Sacrament of the Altar.
This sacrament has many names, each emphasizing a different aspect of this blessed gift. Communion speaks to the communion we experience with Christ and with each other. The Lord’s Supper reminds us that Jesus instituted the meal and His body and blood are present. Eucharist means, “giving thanks”, and focuses on it being a meal of thanksgiving to God for forgiveness, life, salvation through Jesus’ sacrifice. The Sacrament of the Altar emphasizes Jesus being the one true and final sacrifice for our sins, the sacrifice in which His body was broken and His blood shed.
With Communion, God gives us His presence in a way we can touch, taste, see, smell, and sometime even hear (the sound of the bread breaking or wine being poured). All of our senses are engaged as communion with our Lord and each other and receive forgiveness of sins. This physical experience can be very helpful as we face our doubts and the accusations of enemy. The devil loves to accuse us and tell us we still stand guilty in our sins. However, we can remember receiving Jesus body and blood and trust in His promise to give forgiveness through the meal.
As Luther once wrote:
““When the devil throws our sins up to us and declares we deserve death and hell, we ought to speak thus: “I admit that I deserve death and hell. What of it? Does this mean that I shall be sentenced to eternal damnation? By no means. For I know One who suffered and made a satisfaction in my behalf. His name is Jesus Christ, the Son of God. Where he is, there I shall be also.””
This Is My Body. This Is My Blood.
There is much debate among Christian denominations of whether Jesus body and blood are truly present and in what way they are. As Lutherans, we believe Jesus body and blood are truly present for Jesus said, “This is my body.” (Luke 22:19) and “This is my blood.” (Matthew 26:28) We do not, however, try to explain how Jesus body and blood are present except to say that it is by the power of God. The Bible doesn’t explain it. It simply tells us it is, so we trust that it is.
What Happens In Communion?
There are many things which happen in communion. 1 Corinthians speaks of us, together, participating with Christ’s body and blood. It also says we are proclaiming Christ’s death until He comes. Jesus says we receive forgiveness of sins. Where we receive forgiveness of sins we receive life and salvation. When we receive Communion in faith, we receive all these blessings for our spiritual nourishment and strength.
What a wonderful blessing Jesus has given us in the Lord’s Supper. May Christ be with you every moment. And if the devil tries to accuse you or bring up sin from you past, you can, like Luther, say, “I admit my sin, but it does not condemn me. For Jesus has forgiven my sin, washed me clean, and made me His own.”
Thank you for sending Your Son to die for us. Jesus, thank you for giving us Your body and blood. Please forgive me and strengthen me that I may endure all of life’s trials until I go to be with You or You return. Unify Your church with You.
In Christ’s Service,