Reflections: Thursday of the 17th Week after Trinity

Today’s Reading: Small Catechism: Sacrament of the Altar, part 1
Daily Lectionary: Deuteronomy 1:37-2:15; Matthew 6:1-15

It is the true body and blood of our Lord Jesus Christ. (Small Catechism: Sacrament of the Altar)

In the Name + of Jesus. Amen. The Sacrament of the Altar has many different aspects and dimensions and we speak of it using an assortment of names which all reflect these varied purposes. We can never exhaust this great gift which the Lord has left to us to receive, proclaiming His death until He comes again. Every single word we can say about this gift pales in comparison to this main thing: It is the true Body and Blood of Jesus.

This is why it is called the Sacrament of the Altar. It is, of course, sometimes called the Lord’s Table, which is fine, but to refer to it specifically as it relates to the altar confesses a certain thing: that this is the true Body and Blood of Jesus. An altar is a particular kind of table upon which a sacrificial victim is placed. An altar holds a body. This is the true Body of Jesus upon the altar in your church.

This Body gives life. Other food that sustains our earthly life lasts a day or two. Eating the flesh of a cow, chicken, or plants of the earth will keep you alive for a while, but you’ll have to eat again tomorrow. The life of the cow is given to you so that you would stay alive. Life really is in the blood.

Unlike steaks or hamburgers, delicious as they may be, the Body and Blood of Jesus gives life that does not expire. His life is given to you in this Sacrament which is distributed from an altar. This life is eternal, for Christ is eternal. He is raised from the dead, and in the eating and drinking of His Body and Blood, you, too, are given eternal life, which means that you, too, will be raised from the dead. This is the gift that can only be given in the true Body and Blood of Jesus Christ, and it is given to you. No representation will do. You need the real thing, because you need real life. Yes, this crucified and risen Jesus Christ, is given to you, bodily, in this Sacrament, that you would rise when He returns. And He will return, but until then, we will continue to rejoice and receive this precious gift of life. In the Name + of Jesus. Amen.

Thy body given for me, O Savior, Thy blood which Thou for me didst shed, these are my life and strength forever, by them my hungry soul is fed. Lord, may Thy body and Thy blood, be for my soul the highest good! (“Thy Body, Given for Me, O Savior” LSB 619, st.1)

Audio Reflections Speaker: Pastor Duane Bamsch