Christ Evangelical Lutheran Church - Marshfield, WI

Lent Devotional - April 8, 2023

Hymn: “When You Woke That Thursday Morning” (LSB #445, v. 4–5)
 One in faith, in love united,
All one body, You the head,
When we meet, by You invited,
You are with us, as You said.
One with You and one another
In a unity sublime,
See in us Your sister, brother,
One in ev’ry place and time.
One day all the Church will capture
That bright vision glorious,
And Your saints will know the rapture
That Your heart desired for us,
When the longed-for peace and union
Of the Greatest and the least
Meet in joyous, blest communion
In Your never-ending feast.
             It is amazing, of course, that the gifts of Jesus Christ are not just internal gifts that we can take for ourselves, things that only happen to me. The gifts that Jesus dishes out is not more to some and less for others. Rather, the gifts of Jesus only work in conjunction with the whole. Without brothers and sisters with which to share them, the gifts become self-consuming by nature. Like the body, all the members of the body work in concert. If they did not, then the body gets sick and needs attention. The gifts that Jesus gives are the tools that we are now receiving to connect us to one another.

            In the Upper Room, Jesus gave to His disciples, and now, through this meal of His true body and blood, gives to us unity and love for one another. Jesus prays that we be one. Jesus is not counting on our ambition or zeal to accomplish this unity. Jesus prays that God will bring it about because of what Jesus has done. One in faith and love united. United not by social agreement, but by the Gospel. Jesus Christ crucified for us. This is what makes one people. One faith. One love. One body in Jesus our Head.

            We meet together now not because we are likeminded people who have made some social contract, as it is often thought in popular psychological studies. We are brought together because Jesus has invited us. We share the same doctrine. We share the same life. We share the same Lord Jesus Christ. It is Jesus that has called us together again. Remember that. Jesus calls His church together. It is not a human creation. And when we gather, Jesus promised that He is with us as He said.

            Through this sacramental meal, Jesus is accomplishing all of this in us. And when we come to the table, we might only see a piece of the Church, but Jesus sees all of us. Jesus sees the complete picture. His Supper is when Jesus sees all of us gathered together from time and place. What Jesus sees and tells us is reality. His Word is truth and the truth sets us free.

            But one day, we who have it only by faith now will see this reality for ourselves. We get a glimpse at the Supper here when we gather as God’s people, because this meal reminds us of who we are and whose we are. But this reality will come to us because Jesus has promised us a share in it with His whole church. Whether you are of low or high standing. Rich or poor. Sharp or dull witted, know this: The Lord Jesus Christ, who has begun a good work in you, will bring it to completion on the day of the Lord Jesus Christ.

            We will see fully the joys that Jesus has prepared for us. Our delight will be realized. The day of peace and joy will finally be ours. We will love God and our neighbor as ourselves because that is the covenant that God was pleased to make with us through Jesus.

            That day is coming soon for our Lord’s return, and until then we hold fast to our God and King, who raised Jesus from the dead and put all things under Him. Until then, we fulfill His last wishes, showing us how to have mercy on others and to love them as Jesus has loved me and clothed me from my sin.
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