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Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions
The Small Catechism – part 229

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From the Word: For as the afflictions of Christ abound to us, even so our comfort also overflows through Christ. (2 Corinthians 1:5)

From the Confessions: The Small Catechism, Holy Communion

How can bodily eating and drinking produce such great benefits?

It is not the eating and drinking alone, but also the words that accompany it, “Given and shed for you for the forgiveness of sins.” These words, together with the eating and drinking, are the chief thing in the Sacrament, and those who believe them have what they say and declare, namely, the forgiveness of sins.

Pulling It Together: How solitary sits the city, how lonely and desolate. This is the lament of Jeremiah over Israel (Lam 1:1). Jesus grieves similarly over the people because they are without a shepherd (Matt 9:36; Mark 6:34). This is the human condition. In the end, sin reduces each of us to ruins. There will be nothing left but suffering for those who will not recognize the time of their visitation (Luke 19:44). Only comprehend how complete God’s visitation is for us, for the world. Jesus has delivered us from our ruinous affliction, his own sufferings surrounding and defeating our ultimate human suffering: sin. He also gives us the strength and courage to “patiently endure” (2 Cor 1:6) while comforting others with his gospel (2 Cor 1:4).

In doing so, Christ Jesus calls a communion of saints to refill the ruins, transforming them into a heavenly city. We already gather there in faith, seated around his table, believing the promise: “Given and shed for you for the forgiveness of sins.”

Prayer: Be my resolve, Lord, to endure through your Spirit. Amen.

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A Thirty-Day Walk through Luther's Small Catechism is a devotional book that follows the sections of Martin Luther's Small Catechism, and is designed for daily reflection on the Scriptures and the faith that we believe. Guiding the reader through a journey of Law to Gospel, the devotions are meant to show readers not only their need for grace, but where that grace is found in Jesus Christ. The book is not only meant as a basic daily devotional and prayer resource, it also serves as a brief overview of the themes of the Catechism.

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