Archive for April 17th, 2014

Mr. William Falk, of The Week magazine, has this telling editorial right in time for Maundy Thursday:

“Food is the new religion. I am hardly the first to make this observation, but I heartily endorse it: Secular sophisticates have jettisoned traditional beliefs about sin and sanctity, so they fulfill their instinctual need for purity and redemption through what they eat. I see the proof whenever I visit the  local Whole Foods to hunt and gather weekend victuals. There, you cannot help but smirk at the organic, locavorish righteousness of it all—even as you succumb to the spell. “

Mr. Falk then goes on to show how Whole Food is filling this need, among many competitors for this “new religion” and it’s various charmed eats.  He then concludes,

” … affluent shoppers who push their heaping carts around the store—many in workout tights that display their buns of steel—have such a confident, self-congratulatory air.Yes, they are paying double what groceries cost at Stop N’ Shop. But how much purer we all are, how oxidant-free! How much longer we’ll live than the wicked masses! We are The Chosen. Give us this day our artisanal, gluten-free bread and our goji berry juice, and may our carbon footprint be small. Amen.”

Is this righteous eating and drinking? No, sadly I think it is self-righteous eating and drinking. This is Pharisaic thinking without the excuse of religion…supposedly.    Our Lord said, take and eat, take and drink.  Now this night.  This is the pure righteousness of Jesus Christ poured out for us and for our salvation.  We come to His table as needy people, dying people, impure to purely  live on His Word, every Word proceeding from His mouth,  made present in bread and wine as He promised:  His Body and Blood. This is pure eats.  We are not the self-chosen.  We need to be chosen and directed away from the  world’s sin and death, and the old flesh clinging to sin.  The wages of sin is death and we work for such lousy wages and He worked this night, and still does through His Word.  God’s Law, which we can not keep, shows us this, that love of God and neighbor directs us away from the way of sin and death. Jesus worked Himself to death, as true man and as true God,  the blood, sweat and tears of God.

Mr. Falk perceptively points out that folks want to “…fulfill their instinctual need for purity and redemption…”.  Though the need for purity and redemption is more than instinct, it is  inscribed, the Law of God into our hearts to know Him and His will which is poured out these 3 days of the final redemption in Jesus Christ, the new and everlasting covenant. With every fiber of His being and the whole food of God dwelling in Him perfectly, for 33 years He came to this point so that your life and mine has a point:   His dying and rising. He is the Bread of Life as He promised.

We open our mouths, open our hearts to Him.  But it is not opening our mouths and by eating and drinking alone will make us pure and redeemed. It is faith which holds and clings to Jesus Christ.  This is for body and soul.  The Lord made us a unity of body and soul.  The Lord for our salvation demonstrates this till He comes again in power by His Presence in His Supper because bodies don’t believe and souls don’t eat (Pr. and Prof. Hermann Sasse).

The bread of this world is bought and sold.  We can not buy the Bread of Life, Jesus Christ, He has bought us with His blood.  We can not buy eternal life in Christ, He gives it.  We can not buy this blessed Communion, we are baptized for it, for Him, in Him and through Him, the Passover Lamb.  The eastern Orthodox will refer to the priest as “serving the Liturgy”.  This is meet, right and salutary so to speak.  Jesus Christ is One Who serves and we are called by Him to do the same.  Serving His body and blood and serving our neighbors in His love, following His example.  When the Lord says, “This cup that poured out for you…”, the verb in Greek, translated as “poured” is actually present tense.  It  is hard to translate it into every day English:  This cup pours out for you…It does, beloved! Or this cup  pouring out for you.  For you!    As it poured out His veins upon the Cross, as His life, His circumcision on the 8th day, His  ministry, Supper, Baptism, creation, re-creation, crucifixion, resurrection and ascension is preached and taught and pouring out for us all. The so-called  pure eats of the new religion of food is only for them who can afford it. Not here.

As great as the distinction between communicants in civic life may be, in the Holy Supper all distinctions evaporate. We are all the same, in that we each eat the same earthly and heavenly bread and drink the same earthly and heavenly drink. In this Meal, the subject and his king, the slave and his master, the beggar and the rich, the child and the old man, the wife and the husband, the simple and the learned, truly all communicants stand as the same poor sinners and beggars, hungry and thirsty for grace. Although one may appear in a rough apron while another in velvet and satin, adorned with gold and pearls, when they depart, all take with them that for which they hunger and thirst: Christ’s blood and righteousness as their beauty and glorious dress. No one receives a better food and better drink than the other. All receive the same Jesus, and with Him, the same righteousness (Dr. C. F. W. Walther).

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