Sunday, September 20, 2009

The Tree of Life

Ever since Pr. Weedon began including quotes from Charles Porterfield Krauth's "The Conservative Reformation and Its Theology" on his blog many moons ago, I have been reading and studying this masterpiece, as time permits.  It is filled with theological gem after theological gem.  Every confessional Lutheran should buy, read, and study this book.  Today, I began reading the section on the Lord's Supper and came across this gem:
The first thing worthy of note in regard to the sacramental mystery is its antiquity.  It meets us at the threshold of the divine history of our race.  In Eden we see already the idea of natural and supernatural eating . . . The great loss of Paradise Lost was that of the Sacrament of Life, of that food, in with, and under which was given immortality, so objectively, positively, and really that even fallen man would have been made deathless by it:  "Now lest he put forth his hand, and take also of the tree of life, and eat, and live forever," Gen. iii. 22.  The great gain of Paradise Regained is that of the Sacrament of Life.  Christ says:  "I am the life;" " The bread that I will give is My flesh, which I will give for the life of the world."  The cross of Christ is the tree of life, and He the precious fruit borne by heavenly grace upon it.  The cross is the centre of Paradise Regained, as the tree of life was the centre of the first Paradise.  Christ's body is the organ of the life purchased by His obedience and death.  The Holy Supper is the sacrament of that body, and, through the body, the sacrament of the life which that body brings.  (Krauth, "The Conservative Reformation and Its Theology," pp. 585-586). 
What Krauth teaches here is beautifully expressed in the Eucharistic Prayer in LSB, Divine Service 4:
Blessed are You, O Lord our God, king of all creation, for You have had mercy on us and given Your only-begotten Son that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life.
In Your righteous judgment You condemned the sin of Adam and Eve, who ate the forbidden fruit, and You justly barred them and all their children from the tree of life.  Yet, in Your great mercy, You promised salvation by a second Adam, Your Son, Jesus Christ, our Lord, and made His cross a life-giving tree for all who trust in Him.

We give You thanks for the redemption You have prepared for us through Jesus Christ.  Grant us Your Holy Spirit that we may faithfully eat and drink of the fruits of His cross and receive the blessings of forgiveness, life, and salvation that come to us in His body and blood. 
Here us as we pray in His name and as He has taught us:  Our Father . . .
When we receive the very Body and Blood of Christ in the Holy Eucharist, we are receiving the very fruits from the life-giving tree of His cross.  Our Lord has given us access, once again, to the Tree of Life!  When we partake of its Fruit in faith, life eternal is ours!  Beautiful stuff! 

Here, dear friends in Christ, is your Tree of Life:


1 comment:

Dave Lambert said...

A beautiful painting that truly points us to the Tree of Life!