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‘Take, eat; this is my body.’ Matt. 26:26

The Sacraments

The Lord’s Supper

Sacraments | Baptism | The Lord’s Supper

The Rev. Theresa Cho presides at the Lord’s Supper. Photo courtesy of St. John’s Presbyterian Church.

The Lord’s Supper is the sign and seal of eating and drinking in communion with the crucified and risen Lord. During his earthly ministry Jesus shared meals with his followers as a sign of community and acceptance and as an occasion for his own ministry. He celebrated Israel’s feasts of covenant commemoration.

In his last meal before his death, Jesus took and shared with his disciples the bread and wine, speaking of them as his body and blood, signs of the new covenant. He commended breaking bread and sharing a cup to remember and proclaim his death.

On the day of his resurrection, the risen Jesus made himself known to his followers in the breaking of bread. He continued to show himself to believers, by blessing and breaking bread, by preparing, serving, and sharing common meals. (Directory for Worship, W-2.4001)

Find resources for exploring and celebrating weekly Eucharist.

Download new eucharistic prayers (Great Thanksgivings) for general use, lectionary dates, and other occasions. 

Celebrate the Lord’s Supper each week in the Season of Easter. Learn more and find resources.

Learn about the Extended Serving of Communion, a way to expand the eucharistic ministry of your congregation, engage homebound members in the worship of the church, and cultivate the spiritual gifts of elders and deacons.

Explore Common Ministry, Shared Celebration, an initiative to encourage more frequent communion at the Presbytery level.

Allergies or food restrictions mean we who share the one loaf need to consider serving gluten-free vegan communion bread.

Read "This Bread of Life," the Catholic / Reformed dialogue on the Eucharist or Lord's Supper.

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Discover the fourfold pattern of eucharistic action in the New Testament—taking, blessing, breaking, and giving—through this study guide.

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Memorize the basic shape of the communion liturgy so that you can eucharisté any time in conversation with the Word preached.

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The Lord’s Supper in the Directory for Worship

(W-2.4001 – 2.4007)

The Lord’s Supper is the sign and seal of eating and drinking in communion with the crucified and risen Lord. During his earthly ministry Jesus shared meals with his followers as a sign of community and acceptance and as an occasion for his own ministry. He celebrated Israel’s feasts of covenant commemoration.

In his last meal before his death, Jesus took and shared with his disciples the bread and wine, speaking of them as his body and blood, signs of the new covenant. He commended breaking bread and sharing a cup to remember and proclaim his death.

On the day of his resurrection, the risen Jesus made himself known to his followers in the breaking of bread. He continued to show himself to believers, by blessing and breaking bread, by preparing, serving, and sharing common meals.

The Church in the New Testament devoted itself to the apostles’ teaching, to fellowship, to prayers, and to the common meal. The apostle Paul delivered to the Church the tradition he had received from the risen Lord, who commanded that his followers share the bread and cup as a remembrance and a showing forth of his death until he comes. The New Testament describes the meal as a participation in Christ and with one another in the expectation of the Kingdom and as a foretaste of the messianic banquet.

In the Lord’s Supper the Church, gathered for worship,

a.    blesses God for all that God has done through creation, redemption, and sanctification;
b.    gives thanks that God is working in the world and in the Church in spite of human sin;
c.     gratefully anticipates the fulfillment of the Kingdom Christ proclaimed, and offers itself in obedient service to God’s reign.

At the Lord’s Table, the Church is

a.    renewed and empowered by the memory of Christ’s life, death, resurrection, and promise to return;
b.    sustained by Christ’s pledge of undying love and continuing presence with God’s people;
c.     sealed in God’s covenant of grace through partaking of Christ’s self-offering.

In remembering, believers receive and trust the love of Christ present to them and to the world; they manifest the reality of the covenant of grace in reconciling and being reconciled; and they proclaim the power of Christ’s reign for the renewal of the world in justice and in peace.

As the people of God bless and thank God the Father and remember Jesus Christ the Son, they call upon the Holy Spirit

a.    to lift them into Christ’s presence;
b.    to accept their offering of bread and wine;
c.     to make breaking bread and sharing the cup a participation in the body and blood of Christ;
d.    to bind them with Christ and with one another;
e.    to unite them in communion with all the faithful in heaven and on earth;
f.     to nourish them with Christ’s body and blood that they may mature into the fullness of Christ;
g.    to keep them faithful as Christ’s body, representing Christ and doing God’s work in the world.

Around the Table of the Lord, God’s people are in communion with Christ and with all who belong to Christ. Reconciliation with Christ compels reconciliation with one another. All the baptized faithful are to be welcomed to the Table, and none shall be excluded because of race, sex, age, economic status, social class, handicapping condition, difference of culture or language, or any barrier created by human injustice. Coming to the Lord’s Table the faithful are actively to seek reconciliation in every instance of conflict or division between them and their neighbors. Each time they gather at the Table the believing community

a.    are united with the Church in every place, and the whole Church is present;
b.    join with all the faithful in heaven and on earth in offering thanksgiving to the triune God;
c.     renew the vows taken at Baptism; and they commit themselves afresh to love and serve God, one another, and their neighbors in the world.

In this meal the Church celebrates the joyful feast of the people of God, and anticipates the great banquet and marriage supper of the Lamb. Brought by the Holy Spirit into Christ’s presence, the Church eagerly expects and prays for the day when Christ shall come in glory and God be all in all. Nourished by this hope, the Church rises from the Table and is sent by the power of the Holy Spirit to participate in God’s mission to the world, to proclaim the gospel, to exercise compassion, to work for justice and peace until Christ’s Kingdom shall come at last. (Directory for Worship, W-2.4001 – 2.4007)

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