† Our Great Comfort in the Midst of Great Danger †
You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies.
If you could see how many daggers, spears, and arrows are at every moment aimed at you, you would be glad to come to the sacrament as often as possible. The only reason we go about so securely and heedlessly is that we neither acknowledge nor believe that we are in the flesh, in this wicked world, or under the kingdom of the devil. Martin Luther
† Christ is the True Source of Our Holiness †
In Luther’s commentary on John 14, he asserts that all Christians are holy and will indeed follow Christ’s Word. But the flesh doubts that we can indeed be holy, because we know how we have fallen. Luther answers that problem with the following beautiful and practical statement: To be sure, the Holy Spirit sometimes lets His Christians fall, err, stumble, and sin. This is to forestall any complacency, as though we were holy of ourselves, and to teach us to know ourselves and the source of our holiness. Otherwise we would become arrogant and overweening.
† Martin Luther’s Love for the Lord’s Supper †
God grant every Christian the sort of heart that, when they hear the word “Sacrament” or “LORD’s Supper”, races in pure joy, yes, even with the kind of true spiritual joy that weeps sweetly. For I have such a heartfelt ardor for the dear blessed Supper of my LORD JESUS Christ, where he even gives his physical body and blood into my physical mouth to eat and to drink, with such thoroughly sweet and kind words: “Given for you, shed for you.”
(L.W. XIX, 1576; as quoted by Dr. C.F.W. Walther in Der Lutheraner, March 7, 1846; translated by Pastor Joel Baseley)
Those who want to be forgiven by God and who want to enjoy His presence in their lives, hunger and thirst for the Word and Sacraments. With the Psalmist we say,“My soul thirsts for God, for the living God. When can I go and meet with God?” God has provided the means to receive Him. So, Christians hunger and thirst for God’s Word, absolution, the Sacrament, etc. We have the certainty that God meets us and gives us what we need in His means of grace. The forgiveness Christ won for the world on the cross is applied to us personally by God through His Word and Sacraments. What a joy for us to know that where there is forgiveness of sins, there is also life and salvation.
† Pew Prayers †
Before the Divine Service O Lord, our Creator, Redeemer, and Comforter, as we come together to worship You in spirit and in truth, we humbly pray that You may open our hearts to the preaching of Your Word, so that we may repent of our sins, believe in Jesus Christ as our only Saviour, and grow in grace and holiness. Hear us for His sake. Amen.
After the Divine Service Almighty and merciful God, we have again worshiped in Your presence and have received forgiveness for our many sins and the assurance of Your love in Jesus Christ. We thank You for this undeserved grace and ask You to keep us in faith until we inherit eternal salvation; through Jesus Christ, our Lord. Amen.
Before Receiving the Lord’s Supper Heavenly Father, I confess that I have sinned and deserved only Your wrath, but I flee to Your mercy in Christ Jesus, my Lord, who gave His body and blood for my redemption. I believe that Jesus Christ has redeemed me from all my sins, and I desire forgiveness in His name. I intend with the help of the Holy Spirit to live as in Your presence, and to strive daily to lead a holy life, even as Christ has made me holy. Lord, grant that I may ever thus believe and never waver. Grant that in such faith I may worthily go to Your altar to receive the very body and the true blood which Your Son has given for my salvation, that I may truly praise, laud, and honour Your love and Your mercy all the days of my life. Hear me for the sake of Jesus Christ, Your Son, my Redeemer and Saviour. Amen.
After Receiving the Lord’s Supper O Lord Jesus, my Saviour and only Refuge, I give You hearty thanks that You have so graciously refreshed me with Your sacred body and blood, and I pray that through this Holy Supper You would strengthen me in faith toward You, in love toward others, in patience under trials, and in the blessed hope of everlasting life. Uphold me daily with Your grace and strengthen me by Your power. Into Your hands I commit my body and soul, in life and in death. Grant that, when my last hour comes, I may fall asleep in firm faith in You and Your sacred blood. Amen.