A Jagged Contention: The Devil Attends Mass

“When we were still under the papacy, they used to tell this story.  Once upon a time the devil attended Mass in a church where it was customary in either the Lord’s Prayer or in the Creed to sing: Et homo factus est, that is, ‘God’s Son became a human being.’  While they were singing this, the people just remained standing and did not kneel down.  The devil was so incensed, that he slammed his fist into one man’s mouth, saying, ‘You boorish bum, aren’t you ashamed to just stand there like a post and refuse to kneel for joy?  If God had become OUR brother, as he did YOUR brother, our joy would be so great that we wouldn’t know what to do with ourselves.’” 

– Martin Luther, Sermons of Martin Luther: Church Postils vol. 1.ed John Nicholas Lenker


What are some ways that our traditions and worship practices serve to undermine the incarnation of our Lord? What are some ways in which our traditions and worship practices properly honor our incarnate God?

Share your thoughts in the comments


One thought on “A Jagged Contention: The Devil Attends Mass

  1. The thing that immediately comes to mind for me is the Lord’s Supper. As Lutherans, we properly recognise the bread and wine as Christ’s real presence of His body and blood, and so we properly examine ourselves before we come to the Table and receive Him. It is a beautiful thing that we receive Christ’s body and blood for forgiveness of sins. In this, we honour our incarnate God. In most non-Lutheran churches, however, they fail to recognise the Lord’s Supper as His real presence and instead catechise people into believing it’s a symbol. “The teaching of demons,” Paul would call this (1 Timothy 4:1). Jesus said it explicitly in Matthew 26:28, “for this is My blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins.” The blood of Christ was poured on the cross for our sins, and so it is by His blood in the Eucharist that He has given us as a means to receive forgiveness. To degrade this sacrament—this sacrifice—into a mere symbol is to undermine the incarnation of our Lord.

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