Wednesday, December 28, 2011

What Does It Mean to Examine Yourself for Communion?

Quoting from a sermon of Dr. Martin Luther preached in his home on Maundy Thursday in 1534:
To examine one’s self means to consider well in what condition we are. If we find that our hearts are hardened, that we are not willing to refrain from sin, and that we do not fear its presence, then we may well conclude that we should not go to the Sacrament; for we are then no Christians. The best thing we could do, under such circumstances, would be to put a stop to such wickedness, to repent, to trust faithfully in the promises and mercy of God, and to unite again with Christians in the participation of the Holy Sacrament. If, however, we are unwilling to do this, we ought not to approach the Lord’s Table; for we would surely eat and drink damnation there. Let us carefully meditate upon what eternity has in store for us, if we thus fall under the judgment of God. If we are mindful of this, we will not be slow to repent, to put aside anger and other kinds of wickedness, and to make our peace with God in His Holy Supper. Again, if our hearts are contrite, if we confess our sins before God and are heartily sorry on account of them, if we believe that God in mercy, for Christ’s sake, will pardon us, then we are well prepared and can confidently say to the Savior: “O Lord, we are poor sinners, and therefore come to Your table to receive consolation.” If we approach the Sacrament in such a spirit, we shall be truly ready and receive the richest blessings. In behalf of such contrite and sorrowing souls the Lord’s Table was prepared, so that they might find there consolation and joy.
This quote is taken from the inaugural edition of Logia in 1992, in an article titled “Two Sermons on the Holy Supper.” They in turn were quoting from the house postils, in this case from Sermons on the Gospels for the Sundays and Principal Festivals of the Church Year by Martin Luther, translated by E. Schmid and edited by M. Loy (Rock Island, Illinois: Augustana Book Company, 1871).

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