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From the Confessions: The Defense of the Augsburg Confession
Concerning the Mass
There are other statements about thanksgiving, such as that most beautiful expression of Cyprian concerning the godly communicant. “Piety,” he says, “makes a distinction between what has been given and what has been forgiven, thanking the Bestower of such abundant blessing.” That is, piety considers both what has been given and what has been forgiven. It compares the greatness of God’s blessings and the greatness of our ills—sin and death—with each other, and gives thanks. Hence, the term Eucharist arose in the Church.
Pulling It Together
In Confession and Absolution, we are to carefully consider our sins. We stare squarely into our souls and see who we truly are, and recognize that we are sinners. After receiving the blessed absolution, the assurance of God’s forgiveness for Christ’s sake, we move forward to the table. There, we are to consider Christ alone. Only then may we apprehend the deep truth that he has made us a new people, the communion of saints—again, for his sake. Here, in the midst of this divine service, we see ourselves correctly as both sinners and saints, simul iustus et peccator. We are sinners saved by the grace of God through faith in Jesus Christ. This gracious gift of faith apprehends both its own sinfulness and God’s faithfulness to forgive. In other words, the truly righteous person is a sinner who lives by faith in God’s righteousness. What else would sinners do but raise the strain of thanksgiving?
Prayer: Thank you Father, for giving me faith to believe in your forgiveness through Jesus Christ my Lord. Amen.
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Open the Eyes of My Heart, Lord is a Lenten Sermon Series booklet that provides the background and thematic resources to allow a preacher to put together a five-week sermon series for Lent. The booklet uses a unique approach called the "Telemetry Method" for preaching that helps to visualize each sermon, including the launching point for the sermon, two nodal points along the trajectory of the message, the place where the good news touches the human heart by connecting believers to the heart of Christ, and then the landing place, which represents the sermon's conclusion. Also provided are "thoughts to ponder," theological reflection, as well as sample bulletins and hymn suggestions, making it easy to plan an entire Lenten series.