The Divine Service – The Exhortation

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In our last article, we considered the Prayer of the Church as a response to God’s forgiveness heard and given in the Scripture readings, the Creed, and the Sermon. In this article, we will consider our preparation to receive the Lord’s Supper.

The Lord’s Supper is not just a remembrance meal, reminding us of His passion and death. It is a meal to be received and shared in faith, trusting in who Jesus is as well as what He said about Himself and His Supper. And since Holy Communion is not ours, but the Lord’s Supper, we commune those who share the same confession of the Christian faith as we do.

This means that a communicant will believe that when Jesus said, “This is My body, which is given for you…” and “This is cup is the new testament in My blood which is shed for you for the remission of sins…” He means that He is truly present with His body and blood, as the words declare. The communicant also believes that Jesus’ body and blood are received with the bread and wine “for the remission of sins.” Therefore, it is paramount that the communicant also believe that when Jesus speaks the words (through the pastor) “given for you,” He is, in fact, bestowing upon the recipient of His body and blood the forgiveness of his sins.

It is therefore true that the communicant will have examined himself, his faith as well as his life. An honest examination of his life (the Ten Commandments—Exodus 20:3–17—are a good reference point for this) will lead him to confess that he has sinned and is in need of a Savior for forgiveness. (As the Nicene Creed gives an orderly and faithful confession, not only about Jesus, but also about the Triune God, who He is and what He has done for our salvation, it serves as a wonderful reference point for such a confession.)

The pastor helps in this examination through teaching and preaching, as well as through conversations with the communicant. As the pastor has been entrusted with administering this sacred meal (1 Corinthians 4:1), he will hear the confession of faith (and sometimes the private confession of sin, if the communicant so desires).

Christians desire that everyone would be so united in the Christian faith that they may share this precious meal. But that desire is tempered by Christ’s warning that “he who eats and drinks in an unworthy manner eats and drinks judgment to himself, not discerning the Lord’s body” (1 Corinthians 11:29). And so, out of love for our neighbor and his soul, we seek first to hear his confession of faith and further his instruction, if necessary, so that he may partake of the Lord’s body and blood in a worthy manner.

Rev. Gullixson is the pastor at Our Savior Lutheran Church at 162 Sneden Street. The Divine Service begins at 9:30 AM every Sunday. To speak with Pastor Gullixson, please call (760) 873-6589.