Thursday, December 8, 2011
Here is His Church...
We must overcome the view that sees the Holy Communion as an appendix added on occasion for a few people. The unity of the service must be restored in practice and in the understanding of our people. This may be approached on the basis of the principle found in many of the Reformation orders, that a "service of the Word" is provided for in case there are no communicants for the celebration.
The life of the Church must conform to her theology, which is evangelical as well as sacramental. One may deprive himself of spiritual food in the form of either Word or Sacrament for a time but malnutrition will soon become evident. The Church must ever be known as the fellowship of the faithful gathered about the altar.
C. F. W. Walther:
If Christ had instituted only the office of preaching and not also the office of the holy sacraments, no one would really know where the Church or congregation of believers, to which he ought to belong, can be found, for they also who do not want to believe and to whom the crucified Christ is still foolishness and a stumbling block hear the sermon. As therefore they who by the preaching of the Gospel have come to faith in Christ through Baptism have already gone out from the world and have come into the church of believers and pledged eternal faithfulness to Christ, so these baptized Christians ought again and again to appear at the altar of the Lord to testify that, mindful of their covenant, they have remained faithful disciples of the Crucified, that, accordingly, here is His Church.