The treasure of the Church is the good news that God was in Christ reconciling the world to himself. Christ is the living Lord of his Church. He alone is our Great High Priest. Because he has done all that is necessary on the cross, we have no further need for priests. He is the sole Mediator (1 Tim 2:5). He is living today and comes to us through the means of Word and sacrament.
The Lord’s Supper is a sacrament, that is, a gift from God to us. It is not essentially an act or rite in which we give something to God. Therefore we do not use the term “Eucharist,” which means “Thanksgiving.” This term is commonly used by those who regard the sacrament as the church’s sacrificial offering, through the action of a sacramental priest, to God.
In his Supper, our Lord gives his last will and testament to us, his heirs – promised forgiveness of sin (Heb 9:15-22) and life. The Words of Institution are God’s address to us; therefore the appropriate form for them is a free-standing proclamation to us, his heirs, and not buried within a “eucharistic prayer” offered by the pastor/priest to God.
For the sake of good order our pastor administers the sacrament. However, we also allow appointed lay leaders to serve in this role when needed. We are free to adopt this practice because all the power of the sacrament is in the Word alone: “The gospel is the power of God for salvation” (Rom 1:16).
[See also Section 5 of our Charter of Freedom]
Thanks to CrossAlone for this article.
Thanks to ‘Waiting For The Word’, for the photo.