Skip to main content

Bath and Supper

God cleanses and feeds us by these means of grace.

Baptism is carried out by Christ’s command calling us to “make disciples of all nations, baptizing them” (Mt 28:19).

As a Lutheran, infants as well as adults and children are baptized. I have struggled with this sometimes because my understanding since becoming a believer is that it should follow faith, not precede it. From early church history, however, infants have been baptized. In Acts, entire families were baptized (Acts 16:15, 33). Cyprian of Carthage (200-258) wrote approvingly of the practice. [1] The Book of Concord states, “We maintain that we should baptize children because they also belong to the promised redemption that was brought about in Christ (Mt 19:14). The church ought to extend it to them.” [2]

In The Small Catechism, Luther explains, baptism “brings about forgiveness of sins, redeems from death and the devil, and gives eternal salvation to all who believe it, as the Word and promise of God declare.” [3] Luther continues:

For without the Word of God the water is plain water and not a baptism, but with the Word of God it is a baptism, that is, a grace-filled water of life and a “bath of the new birth in the Holy Spirit.” [4]

Luther concludes his thoughts by quoting Titus 3:5-8.

It has always bothered me how many evangelicals and non-denominational churches refer to the bread and wine (or in their case grape juice) as “elements,” that were simply symbols. The holy supper, Eucharist, communion, what have you was always much more significant than that to me. I could not agree with the Roman Catholic view, but I knew in my heart it was more than symbolic.

Lutherans believe in the “real presence” in the holy meal, but in a different way than the Roman Catholic Church. Luther explained, “It is the true body and blood of our Lord Jesus Christ under the bread and wine, instituted by Christ himself for us Christians to eat and drink.” [5]

Our church offers communion every Sunday. Not all Lutheran churches do. In the past, in this country, some feared it was “too Catholic” to do so or that it would not seem special and would become too commonplace. Thankfully, this attitude is changing among Lutherans today and there is a greater movement toward weekly communion. I find a very intimate sense of God’s presence as the bread is offered, “The body of Christ, given for you” and the cup, “The blood of Christ, shed for you.”

The words “given for you” and “shed for you…for the forgiveness of sin” show us that forgiveness of sin, life, and salvation are given to us in the sacrament through these words, because where there is forgiveness of sin, there is also life and salvation. [6]

I found Hayford’s explanation lacking, but Grudem did a nice job explaining, “Because there is such a sharing in the body and blood of Christ…the unity of believers is beautifully exhibited at the time of the Lord’s Supper.” [7]

[1] Steven A. McKinion, Life and Practice in the Early Church: A Documentary Reader (New York: New York University Press, 2001), 14.

[2] Robert Kolb and Timothy J. Wengert, eds., The Book of Concord: The Confessions of the Evangelical Lutheran Church (Minneapolis: Augsburg Fortress, 2000), 320.

[3] Timothy J. Wengert, Luther’s Small Catechism: A Contemporary Translation (Minneapolis: Augsburg Fortress, 1996), 214.

[4] Ibid., 215.

[5] Ibid., 222.

[6] Ibid.

[7] Wayne Grudem, Systematic Theology: An Introduction to Biblical Doctrine (Leicester, England: InterVarsity Press, 1994) 955.

The Bible. New International Version.


Popular posts from this blog

If and If and If

This is the sermon I preached on Sunday, 10/1/17 at St. Timothy Lutheran Church and St. Mark Lutheran Church. The scripture text is Philippians 2:1-13

Paul’s letter to the Philippians is one of my favorites. It is full of positive, uplifting theology, like “RejoiceintheLordalways; again I will say, Rejoice (Phil. 4:4 ). It’s a feel-good kind of letter. Today’s passage from Philippians is chock full of great stuff and I could get at least 10 sermons out of

I'm Back & Giving Thanks

Sunday, 9/17, was my first Sunday back in the pulpit after 7 months. I am not completely healed from February's back surgery, but am mostly there. The doctor is letting me work only part time until our next visit. This is the sermon from Sunday, 9/17, preached at St. Timothy Lutheran Church and St. Mark Lutheran Church.  based on Psalm 103 1:-13.
When I read today’s lessons, I couldn’t take my eyes of of Psalm 103. This psalm is an individual psalm of one who was struggling in a desperate situation, who called out to God and God delivered him.This is my story too.
As most of you know, I had back surgery in Feb. and I too, received God’s deliverance. Following the back surgery, I contracted an Ecoli infection that nearly killed me. I am here today to declare with the psalmist: “Bless the Lord, O my soul, and all that is within me, bless his holy name. Bless the Lord, O my soul, and do not forget all his benefits…”
The odd thing about this psalm is that it isn’t a prayer. It is not ad…

Flying Rebukes

This is the sermon I preached on Sunday, 2/25/18 at St. Timothy. Lutheran Church. The text was Mark 8:31-38. 

Immediately before today’s gospel reading, Jesus had asked his disciples who people say that he is. This is where the light went on for Peter and he made the confession, “You are the Messiah” (Mark 8:29). Peter certainly gave the right answer and was likely thinking of the attributes given to whoever would be the Messiah. The Messiah, people thought, would deliver them from the crushing rule of the Romans. The Messiah would fight their enemies. Basically, the Messiah was a strong king-like figure.
But, now Jesus fleshes out for Peter and others what that is going to look like. They were completely unprepared for the reality.
“Jesus began to teach them” (v. 31). Hadn’t he been teaching the disciples all along? Maybe, but this was different. This wasn’t teaching about miracles and healing. This is the turning point in Mark’s gospel, marking a new beginning.
“Jesus began to teach the…