Communion


Communion is a remembrance of Jesus' last meal with his disciples and close friends. It is a sacrament (i.e. a sacred ritual) of the church but it belongs to all people. Communion, whether by intinction when you file forward to partake or if its served to you in the pews, reminds us that Jesus broke bread and drank of the cup. Every person is invited and welcome to be a part of that same blessing.

Then

During the sacrament of Holy Communion (sometimes called Eucharist), we remember that night and reenact the meal. Around Christ's table, even though they may have been bought in a grocery store, the elements become the sign and symbol of Christ's love. Communion does not bring God any closer to us; but it can bring us into to a more intimate relationship with God. Through the broken bread and the spilled wine, I remember that I am neither lost, nor forsaken, but held permanently and powerfully in God's grace.

During Passover, Jesus hosted a meal. He did this often for his friends and followers. It was an ordinary, but tangible way he could demonstrate his love and care for them. Though it didn't look anything like a modern Passover Seder, there was unleavened bread on the table and a cup of wine in remembrance of the prophet Elijah. After supper, Jesus broke the bread for his disciples, saying This is my body, broken for you. And he invited them to drink the win, saying This is the cup of the new covenant, poured out for you.

Now

Across Christian denominations and traditions, there is animated debate about who gets to participate. Some traditions believe only those in good standing with God (i.e. the righteous) can receive the elements. Other traditions believe you also have to be in good standing with the Church (i.e. baptized and/or confirmed) in order to come forward. I believe that the table is open. Completely open. Jesus required no tests of faith; Judas would have failed. Jesus demanded no pledge of allegiance; Peter would have failed. Jesus expected nothing in return; Thomas and Mary would have failed. I don't care if you're a sinner or a saint, baptized or curious or just hungry. All I ask is that when you eat, you remember Jesus - his love and his life.

Resources

Much more can be said about the theological foundations of Baptism as lived out in the United Church of Christ (UCC). The UCC has a communion understanding (is in full communion) with the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, Presbyterian Church (USA), and the Reformed Church in America. The Faith and Order Commission of the World Council of Churches described emerging ecumenical trends toward mutual recognition in Baptism, Eucharist and Ministry, adopted in Lima Peru in 1982.