Monday, March 06, 2017

On Handling the Holy

My mentor and one of my New Testament professors when I was in seminary, Pastor Bruce Schein, used to warn us against becoming too accustomed to handling the holy things of God.

He wanted us to always remember that God is greater than we are and so, to never take His Word, Christ's offering of Himself on the cross, the sacraments, or anything about the God revealed in Jesus for granted.

When we take the things of God for granted, the Church risks losing its way and begins down the pathway of faithlessness toward Christ. The danger of this happening is particularly high among clergy.

People ask me why I bow to the body (the bread) and to the blood (the wine) during the words of institution that come before the sharing of Holy Communion each Sunday. Apart from this being liturgically indicated, I bow to remind the congregation and myself of Who we are about to receive in, with, and under the bread and the wine: Christ Himself and, with Him, God's forgiveness. He deserves to be received with gratitude, solemnity, joy, and faith.

[Blogger Mark Daniels is pastor of Living Water Lutheran Church in Centerville, Ohio.]

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