Q 75. How does the holy supper remind and assure you that you share in Christ’s one sacrifice on the cross and in all his benefits?
A 75. In this way: Christ has commanded me and all believers to eat this broken bread and to drink this cup in remembrance of him. With this command come these promises:
First, as surely as I see with my eyes the bread of the Lord broken for me and the cup shared with me, so surely his body was offered and broken for me and his blood poured out for me on the cross.
Second, as surely as I receive from the hand of the one who serves, and taste with my mouth the bread and cup of the Lord, given me as sure signs of Christ’s body and blood, so surely he nourishes and refreshes my soul for eternal life with his crucified body and poured-out blood.
Q. What does it mean to eat the crucified body of Christ and to drink his poured-out blood?
A. It means to accept with a believing heart the entire suffering and death of Christ and thereby to receive forgiveness of sins and eternal life.
But it means more. Through the Holy Spirit, who lives both in Christ and in us, we are united more and more to Christ’s blessed body. And so, although he is in heaven and we are on earth, we are flesh of his flesh and bone of his bone. And we forever live on and are governed by one Spirit, as the members of our body are by one soul.
Q 77. Where does Christ promise to nourish and refresh believers with his body and blood as surely as they eat this broken bread and drink this cup?
A 77. In the institution of the Lord’s Supper:
“The Lord Jesus on the night when he was betrayed took a loaf of bread, and when he had given thanks, he broke it and said, ‘This is my body that is [broken]* for you. Do this in remembrance of me.’ In the same way he took the cup also, after supper, saying, ‘This cup is the new covenant in my blood. Do this, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of me.’ For as often as you eat this bread and drink the cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death until he comes.”
This promise is repeated by Paul in these words:
“The cup of blessing that we bless, is it not a sharing in the blood of Christ? The bread that we break, is it not a sharing in the body of Christ? Because there is one bread, we who are many are one body, for we all partake of the one bread.”
In the discourse that is the sacraments, we now take a turn in the Catechism to look at Communion, also known as the Lord’s Supper or the Eucharist. This celebration is done in response and remembrance of the Last Supper that Jesus ate with His disciples.
Sadly, in many churches today, this celebration has become more of a monotonous tradition that we “do because we have to.” Whether it’s because of the approach of the congregation or the lack of engagement from the pastor, these celebrations have become empty rituals with very little meaning.
Truly, this is a sad thing.
The Lord’s Supper is packed full of meaning; it is literally our opportunity to taste and touch the Gospel and to be filled with God’s grace. St. Augustine said of the sacraments, they are “visible signs of invisible grace.” Again, this is multi-sensory worship at it’s finest, engaging the senses that are used during the traditional sermon.
We can (and do) talk about the Gospel a lot. In fact, the Gospel is (or should be) at the center of all that we do, informing every decision and every activity. Every message should touch on it in some way. We were sinners, separated from God, and we had no hope. God stepped in by sending His Son to pay for those sins so that we would no longer be separated from Him. Faith in Jesus Christ grants of justification (forgiveness).
At the Table, when we take communion, we are reminded of this. No matter what we’ve done, from the stealing of a pencil to capital murder, we remember that Christ died for our sins and we receive forgiveness when we believe in Him. Did you fight with your spouse today? Then you need to come to the Table. Were you lazy at your job today? Then you need to come to the Table.
Did you fight with your spouse today? Then you need to come to the Table. Were you lazy at your job today? Then you need to come to the Table.
Were you lazy at your job today? Then you need to come to the Table.
Have you looked questionably at another person, whether in judgment or lust? Then you need to come to the Table.
It’s not that the sacraments themselves save us. In fact, the act of taking communion or getting baptized does not ensure salvation. Rather, they remind us that we are saved, we are forgiven, our sins our washed away because of Jesus Christ and we receive that through faith.
Maybe the way your church does communion is boring… or you just don’t like it…
Maybe your pastor doesn’t explain it well or just reads the same old stuff each time…
…if either of those are so, that is sad…
…but it is no excuse for ignoring the deep meaing and the reality of grace and forgiveness that we live in which is symbolized in the taking of the bread and the drinking of the cup!
We are forgiven! We are united with Christ! We are called to newness of life!
Take, eat, remember and believe! Be what you see and receive what you are!