04 April 2012

A Little Luther in advance

of Maundy Thursday - this from his homily for the same in the House Postils:

Many ancient fathers called it "Eucharist," a thanksgiving.  Under the papacy it came to be called a sacrifice, that is, to define it accurately, a divine service.  When I preach God's Word, I offer a sacrifice; when we pray for or give help to a needy neighbor, we are bringing sacrifice.  So also when I receive the Sacrament, I am offering a sacrifice, that is, I am doing God's will, I am confessing and giving thanks to God, who has given us this Sacrament, along with all the blessings of the kingdom of heaven, as He has commanded me.

It may well be called a sacrifice, not that the Sacrament itself is a sacrifice, but that the receiving or use of the Sacrament is to be called a sacrifice, not a sacrifice for sin but an offering of thanks and praise, where I confess that Christ died for my sin.  The pope has made the Sacrament into a sacrifice, and a sacrificial action whereby the entire world is reconciled with God.  Yet neither the Sacrament not its use is a work offering whereby God's grace and help can be merited or won.  But the use of the sacrament or the remembrance of Christ, as the Lord Himself calls it, is a thank offering wherein we acknowledge and give thanks to God for our redemption, justification, and salvation solely by grace through Christ's suffering, death, and shedding of blood.  Just as the preaching of the gospel is a sacrificium laudis, that is, a thank offering in which we praise and thank God for having given us the treasure of His Word, so also the reception of the Sacrament is a thank offering.  Hence, whosoever receives the Sacrament thereby shows that he is expressing gratitude to Christ for His suffering and grace.  (I:460 - preached in 1534)

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