“Be imitators of God, therefore, as dearly loved children and live a life of love, just as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God” -Ephesians 5:1-2
In his Large Catechism, Martin Luther writes regarding the Lord’s Supper:
Therefore, it is appropriately called food of the soul, for it nourishes and strengthens the new creature. For in the first instance, we are born anew through baptism. However, our human flesh and blood, as I have said, have not lost their old skin. There are so many hindrances and attacks of the devil and the world that we often grow weary and faint and at times even stumble.
Therefore the Lord’s Supper is given as a daily food and sustenance so that our faith may be refreshed and strengthened and that it may not succumb in the struggle but become stronger and stronger.
For the new life should be one that continually develops and progresses.
But it has to suffer a great deal of opposition. The devil is a furious enemy; when he sees that we resist him and attack the old creature, and when he cannot rout us by force, he sneaks and skulks about at every turn, trying all kinds of tricks, and does not stop until he has finally worn us out so that we either renounce our faith or lose heart and become indifferent or impatient.
For times like these, when our heart feels too sorely pressed, this comfort of the Lord’s Supper is given to bring us new strength and refreshment.
I was reminded of this passage in the Large Catechism as I read our text for this coming Sunday in Ephesians 4:17-5:2. Paul’s instructions for us are daunting, aren’t they? “Put off the old self”, we writes, and, “put on the new self”. “Be imitators of God…”
Well, that all sounds nice but I’ve got to say, it’s easier said than done! The life to which we have been called is clearly more than any one of us can take on. But Luther reminds us once again that God has not left us alone in this task.
God has given us His Word and Sacraments, of which the Lord’s Supper is “food for the soul”. Each week we are reminded that, despite the difficulties of this life and our own personal failures to “live a life worthy of the calling…”, Jesus comes to us in His body and blood to comfort, strengthen, and refresh us. In times of great joy or in times when your heart is “sorely pressed” may the presence of Jesus and the forgiveness and life he offers give you strength to put on the new self, “created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness”.
Don’t forget to join us at 8:45am for Bible this Sunday as we continue our series KNOWN. If you didn’t get the Bible reading guide on Sunday, you can download the PDF version HERE.