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This is My Body. This is My Blood

Verba/ 1 Corinthians 11.23-26 (KJV)


Holy Thursday
Lutheran Senior Services at Meramec Bluffs  
Ballwin, Missouri

Thu, Apr 21, 2011 

Soli Deo Gloria. Amen.

Invocation In the name of the Father and of the + Son and of the Holy Spirit.  Amen.

1 By the Holy Spirit, today St. Paul delivers unto us what he received of the Lord himself:

[I Corinthians 11.23b-26]

. . . that the Lord Jesus the same night in which he was betrayed took bread: And when he had given thanks, he brake it, and said, Take, eat: this is my body, which is broken for you: this do in remembrance of me.  After the same manner also he took the cup, when he had supped, saying, this cup is the new testament in my blood: this do ye, as oft as ye drink it, in remembrance of me.  For as often as ye eat this bread, and drink this cup, ye do shew the Lord's death till he come.

2 With these words our Lord Jesus Christ instituted what we call Holy Communion, or the Lord's Supper; the Eucharist or the Sacrament of the Altar.  Regardless of what we call it, Christ reveals to us exactly what it is.  "This is my body," he says of the bread.  Of the wine in the cup he says, "This is the new testament in my blood."  In this great mystery of our faith, Christ comes to us unseen, but truly present.  Thus St. Paul says earlier, in his letter to the Church of Corinth:

[I Corinthians 10.16]

The cup of blessing which we bless, is it not the communion of the blood of Christ?  The bread which we break, is it not the communion of the body of Christ?

3 In the Sacrament of the Altar we receive bread: and this bread is the body of Christ.  We receive wine: and this wine is the blood of Christ.  This great gift from Christ is the New Testament, or the New Covenant promised by God generations before through the prophet Jeremiah.

[Jeremiah 31.31-34]

Behold, the days come, saith the LORD, that I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel, and with the house of Judah: Not according to the covenant that I made with their fathers in that day that I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt; which my covenant they brake, although I was an husband unto them, saith the LORD: But this shall be the covenant that Ill make with the house of Israel; After those days, saith the LORD, I will put my law in the inward parts, and write it in their hearts; and will be their God and they shall be my people.  And they shall teach no more every man his neighbour and every man his brother, saying, Know the LORD: for they shall all know me, from the least of them unto the greatest of them, saith the LORD: for I will forgive their iniquity, and I will remember their sin no more.

4 In this new covenant of the Body and Blood of our Lord, Christ puts his law into our inward parts and writes the Law of God upon our hearts.  In this sacrament, Christ proclaims to us: I am your God, and you are my people.  Through the bread and wine that are his body and blood, Christ makes himself known to us fully, completely, and totally, for he comes to us in his body and blood, his humanity and his divinity.  All these great gifts of the sacrament culminate the greatest gift of all: By his very body and blood our Lord Jesus Christ forgives our iniquity, and proclaims to us the he remembers our sins no more.  As Christ calls us to remember all these things that he does for us, he himself brings the remembrance of our sinfulness to an end before God.  All these gracious gifts he gives to us in this blessed sacrament we celebrate with reverence and piety here today.

5 Knowing such wonderful gifts come to us as Christ himself comes to us in the Sacrament, we might be tempted to say, "I am unworthy to commune.  I am not ready.  I cannot receive my God and my Lord, surely it will lead to my condemnation."  No doubt this sentiment is borne of an honest appraisal of our sinful condition.  We indeed are not worthy of these precious gifts of our Lord.  We do not deserve them.  We are stained with sin, burdened with transgressions, and dead in our trespasses. 

6 And this is precisely why the Sacrament of the Altar is such a precious gift.  It is intended for sinners just like us.  As Christ says:

[St. Matthew 9.12]

They that be whole need not a physician, but they that are sick.

We are the sick who stand in need of our great physician, Jesus Christ our Lord.  And in bread and wine that are his body and blood he comes to us as the One whom David blessed in Psalm 103.  In the sacrament all who partake receive in the mouth and upon the lips, the Lord Jesus Christ

[Psalm 103:3-5]

Who forgiveth all thine iniquities; who healeth all thy diseases; Who redeemeth thy life from destruction; who crowneth thee with lovingkindness and tender mercies; Who satisfieth thy mouth with good things; so that thy youth is renewed like the eagle's.

Only the sick need healing.  Only the lost need to be redeemed.  Only the lowly, the lonely, and suffering need the lovingkindness and mercy of the LORD.  Only the hungry need to be fed directly in the mouth.  And only the tired, the weak, and the weary need their strength renewed by God.

7 So if you say you are unworthy to receive Christ in the sacrament, I will readily agree with you.  I am just as unworthy as you are.  Because of our unworthiness do we need him so badly, and do we come with haste to receive the blessings he miraculously provides us in his body and blood.  So come, you who are sick, and receive the healing of the Lord.  Come, you lost who stand in need of redemption.  Come you lowly, lonely, and suffering and take in your hand and in your mouth the lovingkindess and mercy of God.  Come you who are hungry, and be fed in your mouth the real, true body and blood of our Lord Jesus Christ.  Come you tired, you weak and you weary souls, and let us together receive the Lord in this great mystery called Holy Communion.

8 As we receive Christ's body and blood we are forgiven, renewed, strengthened, and redeemed.  So come.  Come to the table of the Lord and as the Blessed David says:

[Psalm 34.8]

Taste and see that the Lord is good.

Invocation In the name of the Father and of the + Son and of the Holy Spirit.  Amen.

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