MAIN SERVICE: 9:30 AM SUNDAYS

There are a number of distinctives within the Churches of Christ movement. The centrality of communion in both belief and practice is an important distinctive. It really follows from our conviction that the Scripture is to be our basis for authority in life.

Communion, is also called the Lord’s Supper, the Eucharist, the Lord’s Table, or the Mass in different traditions. The belief held around these different forms of communion vary a little.

They are all seeking to express the injunction that Jesus gave to the disciples at the last meal they shared together - "Do this in remembrance of me". This is outlined in Luke 22: 14 - 23.

  • When the hour came, Jesus and his apostles reclined at the table. And he said to them, "I have eagerly desired to eat this Passover with you before I suffer. For I tell you, I will not eat it again until it finds fulfilment in the kingdom of God."

    After taking the cup, he gave thanks and said, "Take this and divide it among you. For I tell you I will not drink again of the fruit of the vine until the kingdom of God comes."

    And he took bread, gave thanks and broke it, and gave it to them, saying, "This is my body given for you; do this in remembrance of me."

    In the same way, after the supper he took the cup, saying, "This cup is the new covenant in my blood, which is poured out for you. But the hand of him who is going to betray me is with mine on the table. The Son of Man will go as it has been decreed, but woe to that man who betrays him." They began to question among themselves which of them it might be who would do this.

    Luke 22: 14 - 23
Communion - Bread and Wine

The context for communion then is the Passover. This was a Jewish family remembrance giving thanks for the way God delivered the nation out of Egypt.

Practice:

Some churches will celebrate communion monthly, or less often. Although the scripture doesn’t say it in so many words the inference we take is that the remembering should be whenever we meet. Or for churches that have more than one service of worship, at least, every Sunday.

Also it is typical for it to be in the middle of the service. The intention is to state - this is central to what we believe.

Why is it central to what we believe? We are remembering the way Jesus died to bring us forgiveness. So when we eat the bread we are remembering that the past is dealt with through Jesus Christ. This is a good time to reflect upon our own lives and ask is their anything I need to ask for forgiveness for? An opportunity to restore that relationship if we feel distant.
Then when we drink of the cup we remember the new life we enjoy through the resurrection life of Jesus Christ. So this is a good time to quietly give thanks to God for the fact that you are a new person.

Who should participate in communion? Given the meaning communion is for everyone who has become Christian who should accept communion. If you are not yet a Christian you are encouraged to decline the opportunity. There may be days when you feel you have messed up this week, that you can not participate. That is something between you and God.

What about children? Some children enthusiastically become Christian really very young. Some churches would say communion is appropriate once a person has been baptised. This is difficult because we do not want to dampen the commitment of someone who earnestly believes in Jesus Christ. It is something parents should talk about with their children. The parent should determine when the child should participate. The key point is that everyone should take this ceremony seriously.

Bread and wine? In our case, we use grape juice and cracker. The reason for the cracker is that it is gluten free. And historically we have believed it is inappropriate to encourage the drinking of alcohol. We use small cups as well for hygiene reasons.

What is the pattern? The person leading communion will give a brief introduction. Usually the theme of this talk will remind us of what Jesus Christ has done for us. Then a prayer that the symbols of bread and wine would be meaningful to us as we participate.
Then the bread is distributed by the stewards. We usually eat as we receive the bread. There is opportunity during this time as music plays for us to be prayerful. When the cups are distributed the leader usually says something like : as an expression of us being all one in Christ we will hold the cup until all have received and then we will drink together.

After this there is an offering, an opportunity for people to express their gratitude giving money for the work of the church and wider work.

Paul Wrote About Communion


Paul wrote about how the church should hold communion. At that time the celebrating on communion was a meal, a love feast. The particular context of Paul giving this advice appears to be that the was not a lot of love being shown and it had become chaotic.

  • For I received from the Lord what I also passed on to you: The Lord Jesus, on the night he was betrayed, took bread,and when he had given thanks, he broke it and said, "This is my body, which is for you; do this in remembrance of me." In the same way, after supper he took the cup, saying, "This cup is the new covenant in my blood; do this, whenever you drink it, in remembrance of me." For whenever you eat this bread and drink this cup, you proclaim the Lord's death until he comes.

    Therefore, whoever eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner will be guilty of sinning against the body and blood of the Lord. A person ought to examine themselves before they eat of the bread and drinks of the cup. For anyone who eats and drinks without recognizing the body of the Lord eats and drinks judgment on himself. That is why many among you are weak and sick, and a number of you have fallen asleep. But if we judged ourselves, we would not come under judgment. When we are judged by the Lord, we are being disciplined so that we will not be condemned with the world.

    1 Corinthians 11: 23 - 32
As well as providing what is the format for a communion service, there is also an emphasis on the seriousness of this remembrance.

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