"Unworthy though I am, O Savior, Because I have a sinful heart, Yet Thou Thy lamb wilt banish never, For Thou my faithful Shepherd art: Lord, may Thy body and Thy blood Be for my soul the highest good!
"What higher gift can we inherit? It is faith's bond and solid base; It is the strength of heart and spirit, The covenant of hope and grace. Lord, may Thy body and Thy blood Be for my soul the highest good!"
"What higher gift can we inherit?"
Scripture tells us of the fear and awe of those who were confronted by God's divine majesty. When God appeared to Moses in a bush that burned but was not consumed, Moses "hid his face, for he was afraid to look at God" (Exodus 3:6b). Seeing the God of Israel in His temple, the prophet Isaiah cried out in despair over his sin. At Jesus' transfiguration, three disciples saw the Lord transformed in glory and, upon hearing the Father's voice from heaven, fell face down to the ground in terror.
Yet Holy Scripture also depicts the presence of God in gentle, welcoming ways. At times God spoke to Moses "face to face, as a man speaks to his friend" (Exodus 33:11b). Isaiah relayed God's tender words to Israel, "Comfort, comfort My people" (Isaiah 40:1a), telling them that God would come among them as a shepherd and carry the lambs close to His heart. God took on human flesh and came among us as a little baby, cradled in His mother's arms. Jesus grew to live and work among His people, placing gentle, healing hands on the eyes of the blind and the ears of the deaf.
In Holy Communion, Christ welcomes us to His table, where we hear the words of His promise and His Presence: "This is My body ... this is My blood" (see Matthew 26:26-28). So, as we come to the Lord's table, do we fall down in awe-struck reverence in the presence of our Savior or do we happily come into the gentle, comforting arms of the Shepherd, confident that He will not banish His lambs? Both responses have their place. We come to Holy Communion in repentant humility and awe, knowing that we are sinful, unworthy guests at the table. Yet we also come with holy joy, as lambs eager to be embraced by the faithful Shepherd who laid down His life to save us. As welcome guests, we receive "for our highest good" Jesus' body given for us and His blood shed for the forgiveness of our sins.
"What higher gift can we inherit?" This gift of Christ Himself, the majesty of His presence, the gift received in, with, and under familiar, earthly elements of bread and wine, "is the strength of heart and spirit." In this gift we see and taste and remember the "covenant of hope and grace," the new covenant spelled out and fulfilled in Jesus' blood: "I will forgive their iniquity, and I will remember their sin no more" (Jeremiah 31:34).
THE PRAYER: Lord Jesus, even though we are unworthy guests, You welcome us into Your Presence and nourish us with Your body and blood. May this gift be for our souls the highest good! Amen.
This Daily Devotion was written by Dr. Carol Geisler. It is based on the hymn, "I Come, O Savior, to Thy Table," which is found on page 618 of the Lutheran Service Book.
1. What is it you most fear about God?
2. When was the last time you took Holy Communion?
3. Do you talk about the Lord's Supper much when you share your faith with others? Do you feel comfortable doing so?
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