Saturday, June 2, 2012

Invocavit Sermon 6 Friday March 15, 1522

Friday dawned clear and bright, yet Freyda said that she didn’t want to go. She said it with a wistful “no” that seemed to hold back hidden fears. Perhaps she just didn’t want to sit through more on the subject of the eucharist that was predisposed to miss the mark. As Sarah and Heinrich sat in the church waiting for the lecture to begin, Heinrich thought about Luther’s predicament. Martin was still coming out of the culture that he grew up with and the threat of violence made the leaving that much more ominous. He was cutting his way out of the brambles of theology and was making new paths where there were none. This was a very fresh reformation and mistakes were no doubt being made. Because Mother’s words set a new benchmark, Heinrich and Sarah critiqued the sixth sermon with new ears as Luther began: 
“In our discussion of the chief thing, we have come to the reception of the sacrament, which we have not yet finished. Today we shall see how me must conduct ourselves here, and also who is worthy to receive the sacrament and who belongs there. It is very necessary here that your hearts and consciences be well instructed and that you make a big distinction between outward reception and inner and spiritual reception. Bodily and outward reception is that in which a man receives with his mouth the body of Christ and his blood, and doubtless any man can receive the sacrament in this way, without faith and love. But this does not make a man a Christian, for if it did, even a mouse would be a Christian, for it, too, can eat the bread and perchance even drink out of the cup. It is such a simple thing to do. But the true, inner, spiritual reception is a very different thing, for it consists in the right use of the sacrament and its fruits.
But faith (which we all must have, if we wish to go to the sacrament worthily) is a firm trust that Christ, the Son of God, stands in our place and has taken all our sins upon his shoulders and that he is the eternal satisfaction for our sin and reconciles us with God the Father. He who has this faith is the very one who takes his rightful place at this sacrament, and neither devil nor hell nor sin can harm him. Why? Because God is his protector and defender. And when I have this faith, then I am certain God is fighting for me; I can defy the devil, death, hell, and sin, and all the harm with which they threaten me. This is the great, inestimable treasure given us in Christ, which no man can describe or grasp in words. Only faith can take hold of the heart, and not every one has such faith. Therefore this sacrament must not be made a law, as the most holy father, the pope, has done with his fool’s commandment: ‘All Christians must go to the sacrament at the holy Eastertide, and he who does not go shall not be buried in consecrated ground.’ Is not this a foolish law which the pope has set up? Why? Because we are not all alike; we do not all have equal faith; the faith of one is stronger than that of another. It is therefore impossible that the sacrament can be made a law, and the greatest sins are committed at Easter solely on account of this un-Christian command, whose purpose is to drive and force the people to the sacrament. And if robbery, usury, unchastity, and all sins were cast upon one big heap, this sin would overtop all others, at the very time when they [who come to the sacrament] want to be most holy. Why? Because the pope can look into no one’s heart to see whether he has faith or not.”
It was a short sermon and both agreed to the truth of it. But it still failed to address Mother’s points; perhaps that’s why they didn’t speak of it when they got home. The rest of the day was quite ordinary and both rested as they approached the evening.

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