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Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions
The Small Catechism – part 231

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From the Word: 27 Therefore, whoever eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner, will be guilty of the body and the blood of the Lord. 28 Let a person examine himself before he eats of the bread and drinks of the cup. 29 For one who eats and drinks without discerning the body, eats and drinks judgment on himself. (1 Corinthians 11:27–28)

From the Confessions: The Small Catechism, Holy Communion

When is a person worthy to receive the Sacrament?

Fasting and other outward disciplines are indeed good preparation, but people are truly worthy and well prepared who believe these words, “Given and shed for you for the forgiveness of sins.” But those who do not believe these words or who doubt them are unworthy and unprepared, for the words “for you” require truly believing hearts.

Pulling It Together: It was such agony. Decades ago, I would sit in the pew, trying to decide if I had been good enough in the past week to receive the bread and the wine. Of course, I was not good at all (Rom 3:12), nor would I ever be good (Mark 10:18). I was and am a sinner. However, though I had acutely examined myself, I had failed to discern the body and blood of the Lord. If I done so, I could have freely confessed my sinfulness while proclaiming Christ’s death too. Then I would have seen that Jesus died for people just like me, people who could never be good or righteous without him. Examination is not complete if we only look at ourselves. We must then look to the one who has given himself for us. He delivered his own body to the cross, and shed his blood so that a world of sinners may be saved, despite themselves. Believe that, believe in him, and you are worthy and prepared for the Holy Supper.

Prayer: Thank you, Lord, for making me worthy of your table. Amen.

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