“The Lord’s Supper”

 

 

 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]

 

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Thanks to CrossAlone for this article.

Thanks to ‘Waiting For The Word’, for the photo.

 

 

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4 Responses

  1. I like the idea of lay leaders able to provide the sacrament. I hear of people in Eastern European countries going years without the sacrament because of lack of pastors, that doesn’t make sense to me.

    • the best solution is to call laymen to be pastors. this looks exactly like having a ceremony and setting those men apart in some public way. just as we would set apart judges or police officers.

      and then it would be great for those men to get additional training and continuing education. this is what paul had the early church do. every church needs a pastor. a church should not go such a long time without one. but one is either a pastor or a layperson. they are two separate vocations. like father or son or judge or police officer or president or …. and yes, men can have more than one vocation at the same time…. but if someone is acting as a father, he needs to be recognized, by all , to be the father and not a pretender. ditto judge, policemen… one is or one is not. and we know by a) what the person does in his vocation and b) that he is recognized, in some official way, and so we know he is not doing things he has no authority to do!

      tthe confessions say that the visible church is a government in everyway but one exactly like any other earthly government like a civil government.

      what is that one difference? the communion of saints is located only in with and under that earthly government that we call the holy catholic or visible church. apology in its article “on the church”.

  2. I’m currently working my way through parts of the Book of Concord, and in the Visitation Articles (Article 1) on the supper, it states that the body and blood of Christ are received by faith spiritually “which can occur outside the supper”. Are there any other ways this occurs? I’ve always looked at the event raised by Paul in 1 Corinthians 10:1-4 as an example of this – we share the same spiritual food and drink.

  3. it would be far better to simply set apart men and declare them pastors then set up some odd hybrid lay/pastors.

    we have lost the sense of “office ” in the church. this is because we have lost the sense that the holy catholic church is a government that is exactly in nature like any civil government except for one way. and in that government Christ has ordered us to appoint pastors/bishops/elders (all mean pastor in the new testament), who are to be publicly “set apart” to be stewards of the mysteries of God and to rule over their congregations and rightly administer the word and sacraments.

    the important take home idea here is “set apart”. Dang. even pagans understand what this looks like and why it matters! This is about good order. Imagine if everyone just started puting in judges robes and showed up in a courtroom and started signing writs and doing official acts. and others showed up in police uniforms and started arresting folks and directing traffic and all. It would be chaos.

    so we dont do that. the uniform indicates office. the officers have NO power if they do things that are outside of their delegated authority. but when they put on that uniform, that is when they are acting in their official “office” according to their charter, they have authority that average citizens dont have.

    now here in a democracy we think that authority is “delegated” to these judges and other officers. But this is wrong thinking even in government. God himself has placed those persons in their place of authority. and this is true for Pastors too.

    the theory that the authority belongs to the congregation and they delegate the authority optionally is just silly. even if the congrgation calls a pastor, it is God who puts the pastor there. he is not hired by the congretation. we could just as well and rightly have a bishop appoint a pastor. nothin wrong with that. or even have the govt appoint as they did in luthers day. unwise. but not wrong.

    so what should be done, to be confessional, is to set apart, that is ‘ordain” those laymen and turn them from laymen into pastors

    to do otherwise is to have someone do everything a judge does, and then say “but he is not acting as a judge, he is not a judge. he does not have the same authority or responsibility as a judge.” what sense does that make? why not just set him aside and have everyone know he is a pastor. and then…. have the other pastors give the man continuing education, and as soon as possible have him quit his day job as well;! as they said in acts. it is not good for pastors to wait on tables. it is not wrong. but it is unwise. for pastors need to devote their energy to pray and administration of word and sacrament.

    so now you know the full thinking behind the lutheran confessions on this. it is rooted in the Lutheran confessional doctrine of the two kingdoms.!

    blessings.

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