Lutherans celebrate the two sacraments – Baptism and Holy Communion – instituted by Christ. Together with the Word proclaimed, we believe they are the means of grace through which Christ is present and God’s promise of forgiveness, life and salvation is conveyed to us.
Baptism is the entry rite into Christian faith. Through water and the Word – God’s saving promise in Christ Jesus – God delivers us from the forces of evil, puts our sinful self to death, gives us new birth, adopts us as children, and makes us members of the body of Christ, the church. We are baptized once, but we continue to receive this healing, saving gift our entire lives.
In Holy Communion, also called the Eucharist, we remember the saving acts of God through Word, bread and wine, as Christ commanded at the Last Supper. We believe the crucified and risen Lord is really present, giving us his true body and blood as food and drink for the forgiveness of sin, for the strengthening of faith, and as a foretaste of the heavenly feast to come.
How these things happen is a mystery. But rather than trying to know the unknowable, we trust that, in the words we hear and in the physical elements we experience, God is with us and loves us forever.