We believe, teach, and confess that the Sacrament of the Altar (a.k.a. the Lord’s Supper, Holy Communion, the Eucharist) is a means of grace through which the Triune God forgives sinners and strengthens faith. It is the true body and blood of Jesus Christ in, with, and under the consecrated bread and wine.
Following the historic practice of the one holy Christian and apostolic Church, St. John Lutheran Church — together with the congregations of the LCMS — practices “closed communion.” This means our pastor normally communes only those who:
- are baptized;
- have been catechized in the chief articles of the Christian faith;
- have publicly confessed they are united with us in faith and doctrine;
- have been examined and absolved;
- believe Jesus’ true body and blood are present to deliver the forgiveness of sins;
- are repentant of their sin; and
- are members here or at an LCMS congregation or one of the partner churches around the world with whom we are in fellowship.
We ask visitors to speak with our pastor before the Divine Service about receiving the Sacrament at our altar. If you are not yet a member of an LCMS congregation (or one of its partner churches), we ask you to wait to receive this meal here until our pastor has had an opportunity to teach you about this gift and what we believe as confessional Lutherans. Our pastor eagerly desires to teach you more about the Lord’s Supper so that we can welcome you to the Lord’s Table here in our midst.
What does God’s Word say?
Below are a few Scripture passages that teach about the Lord’s Supper:
- Now as they were eating, Jesus took bread, and after blessing it broke it and gave it to the disciples, and said, “Take, eat; this is My body.” And He took a cup, and when He had given thanks He gave it to them, saying, “Drink of it, all of you, for this is My blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins.” [Matthew 26:26-28]
- And as they were eating, He took bread, and after blessing it broke it and gave it to them, and said, “Take; this is My body.” And He took a cup, and when He had given thanks He gave it to them, and they all drank of it. And He said to them, “This is My blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many.” [Mark 14:22-24]
- And He took bread, and when He had given thanks, He broke it and gave it to them, saying, “This is My body, which is given for you. Do this in remembrance of Me.” And likewise the cup after they had eaten, saying, “This cup that is poured out for you is the new covenant in My blood.” [Luke 22:19-20]
- I appeal to you, brothers, to watch out for those who cause divisions and create obstacles contrary to the doctrine that you have been taught; avoid them. [Romans 16:17]
- The cup of blessing that we bless, is it not a participation in the blood of Christ? The bread that we break, is it not a participation in the body of Christ? Because there is one bread, we who are many are one body, for we all partake of the one bread. [1 Corinthians 10:16-17]
- Are not those who eat the sacrifices participants in the altar? ... You cannot drink the cup of the Lord and the cup of demons. You cannot partake of the table of the Lord and the table of demons. [1 Corinthians 10:18, 21]
- For I received from the Lord what I also delivered to you, that the Lord Jesus on the night when He was betrayed took bread, and when He had given thanks, He broke it, and said, “This is My body, which is for you. Do this in remembrance of Me.” In the same way also He took the cup, after supper, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in My blood. Do this, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of Me.” For as often as you eat this bread and drink the cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death until He comes. [1 Corinthians 11:23-26]
- Whoever, therefore, eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner will be guilty concerning the body and blood of the Lord. Let a person examine himself, then, and so eat of the bread and drink of the cup. For anyone who eats and drinks without discerning the body eats and drinks judgment on himself. [1 Corinthians 11:27-29]
- Jesus: “I am the living bread that came down from heaven. If anyone eats of this bread, he will live forever. And the bread that I will give for the life of the world is My flesh.” [John 6:51]
- Jesus: “Whoever feeds on My flesh and drinks My blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up on the last day. For My flesh is true food, and My blood is true drink. Whoever feeds on My flesh and drinks My blood abides in Me, and I in him.” [John 6:54-56]
For further reading:
- Luther’s Small Catechism
- Luther’s Large Catechism
Augsburg Confession, Article X: The Lord’s Supper | Apology, Article X: Of the Holy Supper
Augsburg Confession, Article XXII: Of Both Kinds in the Sacrament | Apology, Article XXII: Of Both Kinds in the Lord’s Supper
Augsburg Confession, Article XXIV: Of the Mass | Apology, Article XXIV: Of the Mass
- Smalcald Articles, Part I, Article II: Of the Mass
- Smalcald Articles, Part II, Article VI: Of the Sacrament of the Altar
- Formula of Concord, Epitome, Article VII: The Lord’s Supper
- Formula of Concord, Solid Declaration, Article VII: The Holy Supper
- CTCR Report: Admission to the Lord’s Supper (PDF)