Recently, in honor of Veteran’s Day, my husband and I were invited to dinner at a friends’ house. There were a number of veterans there, and as we ate, they sat around the table telling stories about their time in the military. There were funny stories and scary stories; there were stories about the Army, Marines, Navy, Air Force and Merchant Marines; there were stories about the Vietnam War, World War II, Korea and Qatar. All these men (and one woman) had a shared experience and it was good to have an opportunity to remember it together.
The ancient Israelites had a feast like this as well, called Passover. The Passover was a time to repeat and remember their experience as slaves in Egypt and how the Lord rescued them. Even though the people celebrating the feast had not participated in the actual events, God wanted them to remember it as part of their personal history, part of their life as God’s people.
As Christians, we celebrate a regular feast as well. Some name it The Lord’s Supper, others Holy Communion or the Mass, depending on the denomination. We also come together to remember an experience from our history as a people, the night that Jesus last ate and drank with His disciples before His Crucifixion and Resurrection. For Lutherans, it is much more than just a symbol — it is Christ Himself, coming to us in His body and blood, what we call “the real presence.” Here’s some of what Martin Luther says we receive in this feast:
“For here in the sacrament [Communion] you receive from Christ’s lips the forgiveness of sins, which contains and conveys God’s grace and Spirit with all his gifts, protection, defense, and power against death and the devil and all evils” (The Large Catechism — p. 98).
Luther said we should partake of this sacrament often. Why would we want to miss out, simply to sleep in? A feast is set for us. A feast where we meet with Jesus and our fellow believers, to not only remember, but receive His blessings today. It gives us strength and nourishment for daily living. Don’t miss out — did you go to the feast this week?