The sacrifice of Christians

Rev. Adam Roe, in the series on vocation at MissionWork, discusses the concept of “sacrifice” in the Lutheran confessions.  Unlike in Roman Catholicism, Holy Communion is not seen as a sacrifice, nor are pastors considered priests who offer up sacrifices.  And yet Christians are called to sacrifice, but not for the forgiveness of sins, since Christ, who is both our Priest and our Sacrifice, has accomplished the only sacrifice we need.  But the Apology of the Augsburg Confession does speak about the sacrifices that pastors and all Christians perform. [Read more...]

Drinking His cup, being baptized with His baptism

Our sermon for the beginning of Passiontide was Mark 10:32-45, the passage about James and John asking Jesus if they could sit on His right hand and His left when He comes into His kingdom.  I had studied this text extensively for what it teaches about authority and vocation (how authority is not to be used to “lord it over” others, but to serve those whom you have authority over).  But somehow I never noticed that the passage is also about baptism and Holy Communion.  Read the connection after the jump.  And see whom God prepared to be on His right hand and on His left.

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Blood transfusion

The nurse who recovered from Ebola had received a blood transfusion from Dr. Kent Brantly, that first American missionary doctor who contracted the disease but survived.  So far, he has given about a gallon of his blood to others with the disease, and it seems to be helping.  The recipients and the donor must have compatible blood types, but the antibodies that successfully killed the virus in the survivor can be transferred into another person’s body.

I can’t resist the comparison to the blood of Christ.  He bore the disease of sin in His body and went so far as to die from it, though that particular virus was ours, not His.  But He rose from the dead.  Now His blood is our cure.  He gives us a blood transfusion:

And he took a cup, and when he had given thanks he gave it to them, saying, “Drink of it, all of you, for this is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins.” (Matthew 26:27-28) [Read more...]

1,500 year-old confession of faith

Scholars have discovered a 1,500-year-old papyrus from ancient Egypt that contains a remarkable Christian confession, including an early description of Holy Communion.  Reportedly, the writing was rolled up in an amulet, a Christian version of the amulets-with-protection-spells worn by pagan Egyptians.

The article on the find says that this is an example of Christian “magic,” but the text says nothing about protection or anything spell-like.  The ancient Hebrews of the Bible would also wear little cases that contained Bible verses (Deuteronomy 11:18).  The ignorance of the news story in saying that this is one of the “first” references to the Last Supper–the early Church Fathers, such as Irenaeus who died in 202 A.D., referred to it all the time–casts further doubt on the “magic” claim.  This instead sounds like an example of Christians following a cultural practice while giving it a new meaning.  Anyway, read the text after the jump. [Read more...]

“Spiritual Communion”?

According to Roman Catholicism, you can receive “spiritual communion” even when you don’t take actual, physical communion.  That is, if you desire to receive the sacrament, that is almost as good as actually receiving it.  I learned this seeming bit of Gnosticism from a post by Nicholas Frankovich as part of the discussion about whether or not divorced and remarried Catholics should be allowed to receive the Sacrament.

Note too, in the excerpt after the jump, that whereas Lutherans believe that the Body and Blood of Christ are given and received specifically for the forgiveness of sins, Roman Catholics believe that sinners must not receive them.  More evidence that Lutherans actually have a higher view of the Sacraments than Catholics do! [Read more...]

George Herbert on Holy Communion

The Invitation

Come ye hither all, whose taste

Is your waste;

Save your cost, and mend your fare.

God is here prepar’d and drest,

And the feast,

God, in whom all dainties are.

Come ye hither all, whom wine

Doth define,

Naming you not to your good:

Weep what ye have drunk amisse,

And drink this,

Which before ye drink is bloud. [Read more...]