Summary: Holy Communion: Contains MSG (Mighty Son of God; Much Saving Grace; More Strength for Good)

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It’s not unusual to see signs like this at restaurants: No MSG Added. Sometimes it’s the most prominent sign you’ll see, even bigger than the sign with the name of the restaurant on it! What is this MSG and what’s so bad about it that certain restaurants want you to be certain that they’re not cooking with the stuff? MSG stands for “Monosodium Glutamate” and is made of water, sodium and glutamate. Glutamate is an amino acid that naturally occurs in corn, peas, and tomatoes. But it can also be combined with water and sodium to make MSG, a salt-like substance which is used to enhance the natural flavor of certain foods. While Health Canada has deemed MSG safe, some people have a sensitivity to the additive and can develop blurred vision, chills, headaches, nausea, and several other symptoms. Therefore some restaurants hope to lure more customers by advertising that they don’t use added MSG.

It sounds like MSG is best avoided, so I need to be honest with you and let you know that Holy Communion contains MSG—not Monosodium Glutamate, but the Mighty Son of God (among other things). A couple of weeks ago we were reminded how Holy Communion is better than manna because it’s packed full of Vitamin F—forgiveness. But many have wondered how simple bread and wine can give us the forgiveness of sins? In answer to the question “How can bodily eating and drinking do such great things?” Martin Luther wrote: “Certainly not just eating and drinking do these things, but the words written here: ‘Given and shed for you for the forgiveness of sins.’ These words, along with the bodily eating and drinking, are the main thing in the Sacrament. Whoever believes these words has exactly what they say: ‘forgiveness of sins.’” How do you know that you receive forgiveness through Holy Communion? Because it contains the Mighty Son of God who gave us his word concerning the sacrament.

OK, so we’re back to that argument. Is Jesus’ body and blood really present with the bread and wine of Holy Communion, or does the bread and wine just symbolize the body and blood? Doesn’t our text put to rest the controversy? Paul said: “Is not the cup of thanksgiving for which we give thanks a participation in the blood of Christ? And is not the bread that we break a participation in the body of Christ?” (1 Corinthians 10:16)

Paul clearly says that the bread and wine of Holy Communion “participate” or have a “joint sharing” with the body and of blood of Jesus. Think of it like this. When you join a sports team you may get a jersey with your name on the back and the team’s name on the front. By joining that team you haven’t ceased to be yourself, but you have become part of something bigger than you. That’s kind of what happens in Holy Communion. The bread and wine don’t stop being bread and wine, but because of Jesus’ promise that bread is also now his body, and the wine is also his blood. Holy Communion really does contain MSG—the Mighty Son of God even if you can’t detect his presence with your senses.

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