Thursday, March 22, 2012

Again Given Us Grace to Receive This Sacrament

Surely you couldn't take things for granted as much as I do.  Surely not.

The post-communion prayer we've used recently speaks of "grace to receive the holy body and precious blood" of Jesus.

Think about that.  Grace to receive.  Think about how many different things that means.

There are grape vines growing, wheat growing, and people who can make that produce into wine and bread.  The weather has been good enough.  There are people who tend the vines, people who drive the combines, and people who have the skill to turn grapes into wine without letting it become vinegary.  It's all by God's grace.

We have cars and gasoline.  We have a ride to church so that we can receive Christ's body.  That ride (or our ability to walk to church) is a gift of God's grace.

Our church building is still there.  It hasn't been blown away in a tornado, burned in a fire, or been bombed by terrorists.  Those things happen to Christian churches sometimes.  But as we are in church, praying this post-communion collect, we still have that physical place.  And a pastor.  That's only by God's grace.

The liturgy has been preserved to us.  The preaching of the Gospel continues to go forth.  That's not anything we can pat ourselves on the back for.  That's due to God's grace.

Attacks on Christian freedom notwithstanding, we are still free to assemble weekly or daily for preaching and prayers and the Sacraments.  There's no suspicion that when we pull around the corner into the church driveway, we'll find armed guards there, rounding us up for prison, torture, or execution.  That's due to God's grace.

For those of us who are in churches where the Lord's Supper is celebrated at least once a week, we rejoice in the frequency of this gift.  There are churches, even among us, where the Sacrament is offered only once or twice a month.  There are churches in other denominations where it is offered a few times a year.  But for us, Sunday after Sunday, the Lord has been gracious to give us Himself to eat and to drink for the forgiveness of our sins.

But more than anything else, He has graciously preserved us in the faith.  That's not something I do.  It's not something you do.  And it's certainly not chance.  We still believe in Him; we still desire Him; we still long to come to the Supper.  That too is a miracle of God's grace.

1 comment:

  1. Amen!

    We have so much to be thankful for. We are so blessed.