Wednesday, December 7, 2011
In the Eucharist the Church Anticipates His Final Consummation...
But each Eucharist points beyond itself to the final coming of Christ at the end of time. Then, as St. Luke's Gospel describes it, He will meet again with His faithful followers, assembled from the highways, alleys, and hedgerows" for a heavenly banquet. Each Eucharist is already now a foretaste and token of the heavenly banquet at the consummation of all things. As one of our post-Communion versicles, coming from St. Paul, still reminds us most vividly: As often as you eat of this bread and drink of this cup, you do show forth the Lord's death till He comes...
The Church is a sojourning fellowship living in confidence and hope. The local congregation joins with the blessed departed of all times and places as the one Body of Christ... The preaching and the sacraments of the Church always point back to this Christ event. Yet the end is set to the life of the old man, too, in the Eucharist, for each believer arises again as a new man in Christ. And we anticipate here His final consummation -- the still awaited end of this present age...
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Ernest Koenker writes, “Yet the end is set to the life of the old man, too, in the Eucharist, for each believer arises again as a new man in Christ”
Martin Luther writes in the Small Catechism about Baptism, “It signifies that the old Adam in us should, by daily contrition and repentance, be drowned and die with all sins and evil lusts, and, again, a new man daily come forth and arise; who shall live before God in righteousness and purity forever.”
So it is daily, except when we receive the Eucharist, then it is twice a day that a new man arises. Should we not rather hold firm to the belief that we rose as new creatures once, when the old man was drowned and the new man lifted out of the waters of Baptism? This same new creatures continues to be sanctified by the grace of God, through the Holy Spirit Who dwells in every one of God’s children, through the means of grace, through parents, pastors, teachers, friends and what and whom God chooses for this purpose. But it is a new creature each day only in the sense that whatever change has taken place in the person during each day makes that person different, or new, compared to the day before. It is not an entirely new creature – that only happens when we are baptized. This child of God is always “simul justus et peccator” – not justus at one point and peccator at another.
Peace and Joy!
George A. Marquart
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