Holy Communion

The names that Holy Communion is often given describes what the Bible tells us it is.

Communion

1 Corinthians 10:16 – a coming together and sharing in Christ
Acts 2:42 – the breaking of bread together

Love feast

Jude 12 – a sharing and giving of a great amount of God’s love

Lord’s Supper

1 Corinthians 11:20 – i.e. the place where Jesus feeds his disciples

Eucharist

Mark 14:23 – a place to give thanks for God's love

We don’t know all that there is to know about Holy Communion. But what we do know is that it is where Jesus calls people to come together in His presence and where Jesus offers to us his love, forgiveness, and new life through his body and blood poured out for us. Holy Communion is where our new life in Christ is strengthened and sustained. Holy Communion is one of the means God uses to nurture us so that we can grow strong in God’s grace.

Where does the Practice of Holy Communion Come From?

Holy Communion, also known as the Sacrament of the Altar, the Lord’s Supper, the Eucharist, or the Mass, began on the night Jesus was betrayed by his friend Judas. On that night Jesus was celebrating the Jewish Passover with his disciples. In the midst of the meal he took a loaf of bread, blessed it with a table prayer, broke it, and gave it to them, speaking the words, “This is my body which is given for you. Do this in remembrance of me.” In the same way Jesus took a cup of wine from the table and said, “This cup is the new testament (covenant) in my blood. Do this, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of me.” Jesus attached new meaning to these common foods, the ordinary bread and wine that people of his time and place consumed at most meals. He wanted his friends to be fed and also to know that he would always be with them. “Do this,” Jesus said. Today, after almost 2000 years, the followers of Jesus, now called the Church, still gather together around tables and still remember the promise of Jesus. We come together each week, take bread and wine, bless it with a table prayer, and repeat the words of promise spoken by Jesus. We do this so that all disciples—from youngest to oldest, brightest to dullest, shortest to tallest—might remember that Jesus is with us and nothing can separate us from Him.

Do you Desire to Receive Holy Communion?

Here at McFarland Lutheran church we practice open communion. You do not have to be a member of our congregation to receive Holy Communion. If you believe in Jesus Christ and desire to receive His body and blood come and find your place at His table. We take Holy Communion because Jesus invites and commands us to take it. Holy communion is a central part of every worship service held at McFarland Lutheran Church.

What are the Benefits of Receiving Holy Communion?

Holy Communion is a way in which Jesus gives himself to us to: forgive our sins; work salvation in us; and give us a foretaste of the heavenly feast to come.

Through Holy Communion we receive:

  • forgiveness of sins
  • salvation
  • new life
  • hope
  • unity
  • strengthening of faith
  • victory over death
  • the peace of God

Holy Communion is one of the means God uses to assure you and others that you are loved and cared for. Holy Communion will strengthen your participation in the life and work of the Church. It will renew your sense of identity and security in Christ. It will make you more aware that God provides for your spiritual nourishment. And it will reveal to you the inclusive nature of God's love

Who Should Receive Holy Communion?

There is no command from our Lord regarding the age at which people begin receiving Holy Communion. Believing in the real presence of Christ “for us” we commune baptized people who believe in Jesus according to Christ’s command to “Do this”. Holy communion takes place within the worship life of this congregation. However, we also provide offer Holy Communion to the sick, homebound, and imprisoned through communion distributors and our pastors. Here at McFarland Lutheran church we provide 1st communion instruction for children at the request of parents.

How Do You Receive Holy Communion?

Holy Communion is celebrated when ordinary bread and wine are combined with the words of Jesus i.e the words of institution. The bread may be leavened or unleavened in the form of a loaf or in a wafer. The wine may be in a common cup or in individual glasses.

Holy Communion is often served in different ways at McFarland Lutheran Church including:

  • tables- (small groups kneel at the altar and are given communion)
  • continuous- (individuals form a continuous line and are served the bread and wine standing)
  • intinction- (by dipping the bread into the wine and then eating it)
  • Parents are encouraged to bring non-communing children to the altar for a blessing.

How Do I Prepare to Receive Holy Communion?

We prepare ourselves to receive Holy Communion in the following ways:

  • self-examination – 1 Corinthians 11:28
  • confession – 1 John 1:9
  • recommitment – Romans 12:1
  • Restoring relationships – Matthew 5:23-24

In short, we prepare ourselves for Holy Communion primarily by believing Christ's words for us, “Given and shed for you for the forgiveness of your sins.”

How Often Should I Receive Holy Communion?

Participation in Holy Communion is by invitation, not demand. Here at McFarland Lutheran Church we celebrate the Lord’s Supper at every worship service. Our deep need and Christ's generous giving encourages us to take Holy Communion as often as it is offered. Recognizing this, Holy Communion is never a meaningless experience! We encourage you to make this a frequent part of your worship life.

What Do We Do Now That We Have Communed?

Have received the blessing of Holy Communion use the gifts and the strength God has given you to live by faith, and to follow Jesus’ teachings and example. Go and live your life humbly as a forgiven sinner. Share the hope for the future you have in Christ. Work for unity among all people. And finally, live in God’s peace and work for peace among all peoples.

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