- Written by Pastor Rick Miller, 2017 District Outreach Coordinator Pastor Rick Miller, 2017 District Outreach Coordinator
- Created: June 23 2017 June 23 2017
Luther defines the Sacrament of the Altar in the Catechism “as the true body and blood of our Lord Jesus Christ under the bread and wine, for us Christians to eat and to drink, instituted by Christ Himself.” This theology comes from the Gospels of Matthew, Mark and Luke and also from St. Paul: “1 Corinthians 10:16 forces us to the conclusion that all who break, eat and receive this bread receive the body of Christ and partake of it.” Luther was passionate about receiving communion, saying “I certainly love it with all my heart, the precious, blessed Supper of my Lord Jesus Christ, in which He gives me His body and blood to eat and to drink orally, with the mouth of my body, accompanied by the exceedingly sweet and gracious words: Given for you, Shed for you.”
The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod believes that the true body and blood of Jesus Christ are present under the bread and wine for Christians to eat and to drink. Our Lord Jesus Christ is present in this sacred meal and gives us the forgiveness of sins, eternal life and salvation. We do not try to explain how Jesus is present under the bread and wine of the Lord’s Supper; rather, we believe, teach, confess and rejoice that He is present. As Luther says, “We maintain that the bread and wine in the Supper are the true body and blood of Christ.”
We believe that Holy Communion is a very personal way God works in our lives to save us. All believers are welcome to the table, but Lutherans “qualify” the unprepared by first teaching them their need for Christ and the forgiveness and life that He gives in the Sacrament. Though there is no LCMS rule about how often an individual should or must receive the Lord’s Supper, we believe that we should celebrate communion often because of how much we need what the Lord gives in His Supper. The Synod encourages congregations to provide the opportunity, to those who desire, to receive the Lord’s Supper every Lord’s Day.
This year, 2017, is a year precious to all Lutherans: the 500th anniversary of Luther’s blessed discovery of the Gospel and his rebellion related to the beliefs and celebrations of the Roman Catholic Church. This article is part of a monthly series covering topics and historical events leading up to October 31, 1517, the date of the posting of the 95 Theses on the Castle Church doors in Wittenberg, Germany. It is republished, with permission, from the Rocky Mountain District, LCMS.