On each Lord’s Day this year, we will display the 52 devotionals taken from the Heidelberg Catechism which are structured in the form of questions posed and answers given.
The Heidelberg Catechism was originally written in 1563. It originated in one of the few pockets of Calvinistic faith in the Lutheran and Catholic territories of Germany. Conceived originally as a teaching instrument to promote religious unity, the catechism soon became a guide for preaching as well.
Along with the Belgic Confession and the Canons of Dordt, it forms what is collectively referred to as the Three Forms of Unity.
The devotional for LORD’S DAY 29 is as follows. Please take note of the biblical references given in each answer. This morning’s devotional addresses the subject of The Lord’s Supper or Communion.
Q. Do the bread and wine become the real body and blood of Christ?
A. No. Just as the water of baptism is not changed into Christ’s blood and does not itself wash away sins but is simply a divine sign and assurance1of these things, so too the holy bread of the Lord’s Supper does not become the actual body of Christ,2 even though it is called the body of Christ3 in keeping with the nature and language of sacraments.4
Q. Why then does Christ call the bread his body and the cup his blood, or the new covenant in his blood, and Paul use the words, a sharing in Christ’s body and blood?
A. Christ has good reason for these words. He wants to teach us that just as bread and wine nourish the temporal life, so too his crucified body and poured-out blood are the true food and drink of our souls for eternal life.1 But more important, he wants to assure us, by this visible sign and pledge, that we, through the Holy Spirit’s work, share in his true body and blood as surely as our mouths receive these holy signs in his remembrance,2 and that all of his suffering and obedience are as definitely ours as if we personally had suffered and made satisfaction for our sins.3
May God’s truth and grace reside here.
Soli deo Gloria!