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Archive for March 27th, 2015

This past March 15, the ides of March, there was a little heralded 30th anniversary.  On that day, a now defunct Massachusetts computer company registered and announced the first dot-com domain ever:  symbolics.com, without much fanfare because who knew at the time what a dot-com was.  This humble beginning was the herald of great change.Thirty years later, there are some three billion people on the internet.  The internet  generates $1.3 trillion in e-commerce sales, all relying on the internet, and all largely attributable to three little letters: .com.

So many years ago, another announcement or annunciation in a backwater town, Nazareth, that a virgin, Mary, would give birth to “the Son of the Most High”, “the Son of God” and Gabriel even gave the Name of the Child to be born to Mary:  Jesus, literally, God saves. This was a little heralded annunciation at the turn of the eons. Yet, this announcement of this Birth has meant the rebirth of billions upon billions of people over the pilgrimage of the Lord’s Church.  The Church and her members do not rely on something as ephemeral as the internet, always changing, but on Jesus Christ, “…the same yesterday and today and forever” (Hebrews 13: 8). He is the same in His grace, mercy and peace for those burdened by the weight of sin.  This is all attributable to 5 little letters in English:  Jesus, literally,God saves.  For you He came.   

When Jesus was born there was a much louder annunciation, the birth announcement, For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord.  Then the angelic hosts sang, Glory to God in the highest, but this announcement was a private audience:  lowly shepherds who had no spirituality to seize heaven, as heaven seized them.  And as the messenger of the Most High said to them:  for you is this Son.  He is not for Mary alone, but for you.

And in the night in which He was betrayed He gave us the meal of His absolute absolving Presence for our forgiveness and faith, palpable in bread and wine.  Luther on the Sacrament of the Altar:

“…a promise is attached to the commandment… which should most powerfully draw and impel us. Here stand the gracious and lovely words, “This is my body, given for you,” “This is my blood, poured out for you for the forgiveness of sins.” These words, I have said, are not preached to wood or stone but to you and me; otherwise Christ might just as well have kept quiet and not instituted a sacrament. Ponder, then, and include yourself personally in the “you” so that he may not speak to you in vain.” (italicized words original)

In the quiet annunciation of the Words of Institution the Lord gives us Himself and in the Sacrament sums up all the “for yous”:

  • The “for you” of His Incarnation, conception, birth and growing up.
  • The “for you” of every Word He taught. 
  • The “for you” of His miracles and deeds He did.
  • The “for you” of all the works of the Lord recorded in all the Bible in creating, redeeming and sanctifying Israel and us.   
  • Then the “for you” crying from the cross, It is finished. 
  • And the “for you”, He is risen, He goes ahead of you. All of those “for yous” are summed up in the precise means of grace the Lord has established for us in the Sacrament of the Altar.

“In this sacrament he offers us all the treasure he brought from  heaven for us, to which he most graciously invites us in other places, as when he says in Matt. 11:28, “Come to me, all who labor and are heavy-laden, and I will refresh you.”(Luther) 

 We are dependent creatures, we live only by food and drink taken inward from outside of us.  Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied.  If someone does not eat, we know that person is sick. Again Luther: 

“What shall I do if I cannot feel this need or  experience hunger and thirst for the sacrament?” Answer: For persons in such a state of mind that they cannot feel it, I know no better advice than to suggest that they put their hands to their bosom and ask whether they are made of flesh and blood. If you find that you are, then for your own good turn to St. Paul’s Epistle to the Galatians and hear what are the fruits of the flesh: “The works of the flesh are plain: adultery, immorality, impurity, licentiousness, idolatry, sorcery, enmity, strife, jealousy, anger, selfishness, dissension, party spirit, envy, murder, drunkenness, carousing, and the like.” If you cannot feel the need, therefore, at least believe the  Scriptures. They will not lie to you, and they know your flesh better than you yourself do.” 

As the Blessed Virgin Mary said, Let it be to me according to Thy Word.  Amen.

 

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