Exhortation to Communicants
(Third Option)

From the 1569 Braunschweig-Wolfenbüttel Church Order
(Prepared by Martin Chemnitz and Jacob Andreae)

Since from the fall and trespass of our first parents, Adam and Eve, we have all fallen into sin and are guilty of everlasting death – and through such sin have grown weak and corrupted in both body and soul, so that we of ourselves can do no good thing, much less keep the commandments and will of God – and since according to the Law we are cursed and ought to be eternally damned, as it is written in the book of the Law, and though neither we ourselves nor any other creature in heaven or on earth could help us out of such sorrow and condemnation, God the Almighty has had mercy upon us.
Out of his inexpressible love, he has sent his own Son, Jesus Christ, into this world to take our nature upon Him, taking flesh and blood from the Virgin Mary. On Him were laid our sins and those of the whole world. He bore them for us as on the gallows of the cross He died, and on the third day he rose again, having atoned for our sin and that of our parents, again reconciling us to God the Almighty, so that we are now justified, made children of God, and will have eternal life and salvation.
That we may be sure of this and never forget His great, inexpressible love and kindness, Jesus Christ, as He was about to begin his sufferings, instituted His Supper, giving to His beloved disciples His own body to eat and His blood to drink, and said to them – and to all Christians – that it is His body given for them and His blood shed for them, for the forgiveness of sins, and that as often as they eat and drink of it, they should do so for His remembrance and, as St. Paul says, to proclaim His death until He comes again on the Last Day as judge of the living and the dead.
Therefore we are to do as he has commanded us, that is, to eat his body and drink his blood, remembering and giving thanks for His great kindness in reconciling us to God the heavenly Father, and rescuing us from sin, death, and eternal damnation. We ought also believe what He has said. Namely, “This is My body, given for you; This is My blood, shed for you, for the forgiveness of sins.” When we do as He bids us and believe, we receive according to His word His true body with the bread and His true blood with the wine, and with them all His merits and righteousness: that is, forgiveness of sins, deliverance from death, the adoption as children, and eternal salvation.
But let only those who hunger and thirst for righteousness go to this most holy sacrament; that is, those who confess their sins, are sorry for them, and who have the intention to do better, and as far as possible live according to God’s will. Therefore, let a man examine himself, and if he finds such a disposition go to the sacrament boldly, for he receives it worthily. And though he is weak, yet still believing, let him go to the sacrament. God will have patience. “A bruised reed he will not break and a dimly burning wick he will not quench.” He is pleased with but the beginning of faith. Yet we should pray as in the Gospel: “Lord, I believe! Help my unbelief.” But whoever is not sorry for his sins and has no intention of bettering himself, but plans to continue in open sin and lust, let him stay away from the sacrament, for he receives it to his judgment, as St. Paul says.
Now then, as we are gathered together to observe the Supper of our Lord and to receive His body and blood, in order that we may do so worthily, that our faith may be strengthened, that we might live more according to God’s will, that we might forgive our enemies and love our neighbors and do good to all, let us call on God our Father through Jesus Christ and pray together the holy Our Father.

Our Father is then sung by the Pastor, then he sings the Words of Institution, then distribution with singing of Agnus, Sanctus, and Luther’s Communion hymns, then Pastor closes by singing the Post-Communion Collect and Benediction.

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