When you visit a church for the first time, you may be surprised by some of the things we do. But what you’ll find is there are certain things that most churches do, that are universal to the Church across the world. Communion, singing, teaching, reading the Bible, prayer…
Communion is also called The Lord’s supper, the breaking of bread, the Eucharist, or in the Roman Catholic tradition, mass.
It was instituted by Jesus in the context of the Jewish Passover meal, on the night in which he was betrayed to be sentenced to death.
While they were eating, Jesus took bread, and when he had given thanks, he broke it and gave it to his disciples, saying, “Take and eat; this is my body.” Then he took a cup, and when he had given thanks, he gave it to them, saying, “Drink from it, all of you. This is my blood of the [new] covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins. I tell you, I will not drink from this fruit of the vine from now on until that day when I drink it new with you in my Father’s kingdom.” – Matt 26:26-29
The primary verses from the Bible regarding communion and the direction for believers to do it are:
Why do we do this?
We do it to proclaim the Lord’s death until he comes (1 Cor 11:26). Jesus’ death is considered the turning point of history, the deciding shift in the battle against death and evil that goes through the heart of every human being and affects the entire world in which we live. We see it as a public act of continuing commitment to Jesus; of identifying in his suffering and death the immense cost of our sinfulness and the sin done against us.
How is this done?
Practically what this means at Carey is that the first Sunday of each month and for our Commencement and Easter Services, we will pause. The communion elements will be available on your seat as you arrive. A member of our church leads us in a reflection on the meaning of the cross for us, he or she then asks us to eat and drink together as a sign of unity and in acknowledgement of the common cup that Jesus shared around the table with his disciples.
What does it mean?
The bread represents the body of Christ, and the wine or grape juice represents the blood of Christ. Within Protestant Christianity, there are a range of views on the precise meaning of this – from purely symbolic (common in Baptist churches) to sacramental (common in Anglican churches). We acknowledge that within our church there will be a range of views on this.
What is crucial about communion is how it draws us into unity with Jesus in his death – and resurrection – and reminds us of our freedom from sin and evil to come in the life ahead.
Who can participate?
Anyone who believes in Jesus is welcome to take part. Please don’t feel uncomfortable if you would prefer not to or are not yet ready.
Want to know more?
If you would like to talk with a Pastor please contact us.