We spend a lot of time trying to find good meeting places. There are some great meeting places, but our best meeting place is when we gather at the Lord’s table! We may refer to this table and this feast as the Eucharist, Holy meal, Holy Communion or the Sacrament of the Altar, etc.
It is here that God meets us and feeds us as only He can. It is here and at this moment that the Body and Blood are given personally for you for the forgiveness of sins. It is the best possible earthly place for us to meet! God meets us and we celebrate the bond of faith and love which have with one another. It is a serious and important time and place for each of us – it is vital that we realize what God is giving and what we are receiving.
As Lutheran Christians we have taken God’s Word to heart concerning this sacrament! We have studied 1 Cor. 11 carefully and for that reason are concerned that people come faithfully prepared for this unique feast. We use the term close(d) to explain our practice. It is close and in a way it is closed, but neither word quite captures the love and caution that really defines our practice.
It has been and continues to be a sincerely contentious issue among many. Sincere because we want to be faithful and at the same time meet the needs of the repentant sinner. We know that we cannot see into the heart of anyone. So, we trust the confession made at confirmation, take time to teach and re-teach the meaning of the blessed sacrament and in every way possible seek to be faithful to God’s Word and our confessions. We focus on the cognitive understanding of God’s Word and yet know that it is more than a cognitive understanding that is important.
We have written many books and given many papers on this topic because a proper understanding of Holy Communion is essential. As you receive and as our pastors share this sacrament we do so in a serious and joyous manner. Lord help us to be faithful!