The Lord’s Supper is what people from our branch of Christianity call the holy meal that Christians eat. In some traditions, it’s called the Eucharist, but most Christians, regardless of the church they belong to, recognize the term Holy Communion. It is one of two “sacraments” recognized by our church (the other being Baptism).
The Lord’s Supper is a simple sharing of bread and wine, and was instituted by Jesus on the night before he died. While some believe in the physical presence of Christ’s body and blood in the elements of bread and wine, most people in our church view Christ’s presence in the Supper as spiritual (this “real spiritual presence” is, in fact, our official stance, though we do not force it on others). Whatever the belief about how Christ is present, it is important that our sharing the loaf and the cup bring to mind Christ’s loving sacrifice and his victory over death.
In our congregation, the liturgy (the formal term for the words spoken by the pastor and people during worship) for the Lord’s Supper is simple, and includes a confession of sin (a unison prayer prayed by all, as well as a silence during which individual wrongdoing is confessed to God), an assurance of God’s forgiveness, and a longer prayer of thanksgiving and blessing spoken by the pastor over the bread and wine. The words spoken by Jesus to institute the Supper are also spoken, and a brief closing prayer is included as well (usually the words found in Luke 2:29-32).
The bread is served by the deacons on small trays, carried to the congregation seated in the pews. The wine is served in small individual cups in the same way. While this is a sanitary way of sharing the cup, our main purpose for doing it this way is to enable everyone to eat and drink at the same time. For the same reason, unfermented grape juice is also served in place of wine, so that all worshipers can “drink from the same cup” …that is, drink the same drink.
All present in worship are welcome to share in the Supper with us, whether or not you belong to our church. We only ask that you believe in Christ’s sacrifice of love, assuming that you know your own heart. As we say in the United Church of Christ: No matter who you are or where you are on life’s journey, you’re welcome at the table.
While some Christians recognize up to seven holy acts as sacraments, our interpretation of that word is that it must be an act which is both instituted by Christ and required of all Christians.
Some scripture passages about the Lord’s Supper: