Monday, July 21, 2008

The Great Sacrament of True Unity

Here lies the basic reason why church fellowship has been altar-fellowship, and vice versa, ever since New Testament times. The oldest traces of Christian liturgy in the new Testament prove that even at the time of the apostles the ‘holy kiss’, the kiss of brotherly love (agape) and peace (pax), was given at the beginning of the Eucharist (in the Eastern church it is still given before the Credo) or the Communion (in the Latin church). Whenever we find the exhortation in the New Testament: ‘Greet one another with a holy kiss’ (1 Cor. 16:20; 2 Cor. 13:12; Rom. 16:16; 1 Thess. 5:26; 1 Peter 5:14), this indicates that the reading of an apostolic epistle (otherwise, a sermon) was followed by the celebration of the Lord’s Supper. The greetings attached to such passages testify to the fellowship that tied the local church to churches elsewhere and to the entire ‘brotherhood throughout the world’ (1 Peter 5:9). Thus, Holy Communion becomes the great Sacrament of the true unity of the Church. To believe in the Real Presence implies belief in the communion of saints as a reality existing within the Church.
Hermann Sasse, This is My Body: Luther’s Contention for the Real Presence in the Sacrament of the Altar (Adelaide: Openbook Publishers, 1977) 322.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

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