We Gather to Receive His Gifts of Grace
God has promised to give generously of His mercy and His Holy Spirit through His Word and Sacraments. We gather as a community to receive God's gifts because apart from His gifts we have nothing of value.
We receive wisdom and knowledge, strength and peace as we receive the Word of God in our Sunday gatherings. The writer of the book of Hebrews teaches us what the Word of God is:
"The Word of God is alive and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart" (Hebrews 4:12).
St. Paul encouraged Timothy to remain actively in the Word of God so that he might be prepared to change the world with the Gospel.
"All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work" 2 Timothy 3:16-17).
Just as Jesus, the Son of God, came into the world in a very common way, raised by ordinary people, in a small town, and worked in a common trade, Jesus continues to come to us through ordinary means--the water of Baptism and the bread and wine of the Lord's Supper. Just as Jesus brought healing and life through His Words and ministry, Jesus brings salvation, restoration, and rejuvenation through the gifts of Baptism and the Lord's Supper.
When the people asked Peter what they should do to be saved, Peter responded:
"Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. This promise is for you and your children" (Acts 2:38).
In his letter to the scattered Christians at a much later date, Peter reminded them that Baptism saves because of the promise of God (1 Peter 3:21).
When He gave the disciples the Passover meal, Jesus said for them to gather and receive this meal often for through His body and blood they would receive the forgiveness of sins and grow in fellowship with one another (Matthew 26:26-28; 1 Corinthians 10 & 11).
God is generous with His gifts of grace. We are confident that we receive them because their reception is not dependent on us. We receive God's grace even when we feel unworthy or our hearts are distracted or we doubt. We receive God's grace because He is the one who does the work.