Skip to content


Ever wonder why we Lutherans use the form of worship we do? In this series we examine the depth and meaning of the various elements of our Lutheran worship service.

Have you ever visited with those who had been successfully treated for a life-threatening illness or injury? They won’t just tell you how the surgery and radiation eliminated the cancer, or how well the medication relieved their pain. They will likely talk much more about the doctor who diagnosed the problem, explained the condition, and then provided just the right treatment. Heartfelt gratitude becomes obvious in the conversation.

The same thing happened when Jesus gave sight to a man born blind. When asked about the “how” of his healing, the man first focused on the “Who.” “The man called Jesus made mud and anointed my eyes and said to me, ‘Go to Siloam and wash.’ So I went and washed and received my sight.” (John 9:11 ESV) The man must have been overwhelmed by the world of color and images; but what mattered even more to him was the Giver of the gift.

In the Lord’s Supper Jesus gives us the only “medication” effective for the fatal spiritual condition of sin. The Lord says, “Take, eat, this is my body. Drink, this is my blood shed for you for the forgiveness of your sins.” Receiving the payment price for our sin, we are assured of forgiveness, our faith is fortified, and we are all the more determined to follow the Savior in daily life. In the Communion liturgy we join Simeon in singing, “Lord, now lettest Thou Thy servant depart in peace.”


Immediately following the Nunc Dimittis comes The Thanksgiving in which the pastor says, “Oh, give thanks unto the Lord, for He is good,” and the congregation responds by singing, “And His mercy endureth forever” (TLH page 30). Alternatively, the pastor and congregation speak responsively Paul’s words in 1 Corinthians 11:26: “As often as ye eat this bread and drink this cup: Ye do show the Lord’s death till He come” (TLH page 30). We then offer a prayer thanking God for His priceless gift in the Sacrament, and we ask for renewed faith to live for Him in the days ahead. Two thanksgiving prayers are printed in The Lutheran Hymnal. The first one is from Martin Luther’s German Mass of 1526: “We give thanks to Thee, Almighty God, that Thou hast refreshed us through this salutary gift; and we beseech Thee that of Thy mercy Thou wouldst strengthen us through the same in faith toward Thee and in fervent love toward one another; through Jesus Christ, our Lord, who liveth and reigneth with Thee and the Holy Ghost, ever one God, world without end.” (TLH page 30)

In the Lord’s Supper we experience the greatest, most miraculous healing of all: forgiveness, peace with God, and life eternal. With hearts overflowing in gratitude, let us give thanks to the Lord, for He is good! May we be eager to tell others how they too have been rescued from a certain death. May we say from the heart, “Let me tell you about the One Who has worked a miracle cure and gives new life which will never end.”

Michael Eichstadt is pastor of Messiah Lutheran Church in Hales Corners, Wisconsin, and a past president of the CLC.