What is the Sacrament of the Altar?
It is the true body and blood of our Lord Jesus Christ under bread and wine for us Christians to eat and to drink, established by Christ Himself.
Where is that written?
The holy apostles Matthew, Mark and Luke and St. Paul write this: "Our Lord Jesus Christ, in the night on which He was betrayed, took bread, gave thanks, broke it, gave it to His disciples and said: 'Take! Eat! This is My body, which is given for you. Do this to remember Me!' In the same way He also took the cup after supper, gave thanks, gave it to them, and said: 'Take and drink from it, all of you! This cup is the New Testament in my blood, which is shed for you to forgive sins. This do, as often as you drink it, to remember Me!'"
What good does this eating and drinking do?
These words tell us: "Given for you" and "Shed for you to forgive sins." Namely, that the forgiveness of sins, life and salvation are given to us through these words in the sacrament. Because, where sins are forgiven, there is life and salvation as well.
How can physical eating and drinking do such great things?
Of course, eating and drinking do not do these things. These words, written here, do them: "given for you" and "shed for you to forgive sins." These words, along with physical eating and drinking are the important part of the sacrament. Anyone who believes these words has what they say and what they record, namely, the forgiveness of sins.
Who, then, receives such a sacrament in a worthy way?
Of course, fasting and other physical preparations are excellent disciplines for the body. But anyone who believes these words, "Given for you," and "Shed for you to forgive sins," is really worthy and well prepared. But whoever doubts or does not believe these words is not worthy and is unprepared, because the words, "for you" demand a heart that fully believes.
As soon as you get out of bed in the morning, you should bless yourself with the sign of the Holy Cross and say:
May the will of God, the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit be done! Amen.
When you go to bed in the evening, you should bless yourself with the sign of the Holy Cross and say:
After this, go to sleep immediately with joy.
The children and servants should come to the table modestly and with folded hands and say:
After eating, too, they should modestly fold their hands and say:
Thank the Lord, because He is kind and His goodness lasts forever! He gives all creatures food. He gives livestock their food and feeds the young ravens that call out to Him. A horse's strength does not give Him pleasure. A man's legs do not give Him joy. People who fear the Lord and who wait for His goodness please Him.
After this, pray the Lord's Prayer and the following prayer: We thank You, Lord God, Father, through Jesus Christ our Lord, for all Your blessings. You live and rule forever! Amen!
For Bishops, Pastors and Preachers:
What Hearers owe their Pastors:
For Earthly Authorities
For those Under Authority
For Servants, Maids, Hired Hands and Workers
For the Man and Woman of the House
For Young People in General
For Everyone in General
If everyone will learn his part,
This text was translated in 1994, revised in 2002 and revised and expanded in 2004 for Project Wittenberg by Robert E. Smith. It has been placed in the public domain by him. You may freely distribute, copy or print this text. Please direct any comments or suggestions to Rev. Robert E. Smith of the Walther Library at:
Concordia Theological Seminary