Sacrament of Communion

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Opening Prayer

Holy God, you come to us through the words of scripture, through the presence of the Holy Spirit and through the bread and wine of communion.  Help us to know that you are fully present with us and help us to grow in our understanding of your love for us.  Amen.

A Very Different Passover

On the night of his last meal with his disciples, Jesus gathered with his friends to celebrate the Passover Feast (Luke 22:7-20).  The Passover has been a part of Jewish tradition for centuries.  It offers a way to celebrate and remember God setting God’s people free from slavery in Egypt (Exodus 12:14-20).  The Passover meal is still celebrated today.  Watch the video below to get an idea of what a modern Passover meal or Seder meal is like.

3 Minute Seder

Eat this Bread, Drink this Cup  

Jesus takes the existing Jewish tradition and builds upon it.  Instead of looking back at what God has accomplished for God’s people, Jesus commands the disciples to eat this bread and drink this cup as a sign of the new covenant, the new relationship, that Jesus is bringing into being through his death and resurrection (1 Corinthians 11:23-26).

In the centuries since Jesus’ death and resurrection, his followers have continued to follow Jesus’ command to eat this bread and drink this cup in remembrance of him and to celebrate our connection to the promise of forgiveness and new life that comes to us through Jesus.

So What Does This Mean?

Depending on where you live, you may hear communion referred to by several different names including: Holy Communion, Eucharist or the Lord’s Supper.  Despite the different names, we are always referring to this practice which Jesus instituted during his meal with his disciples as a way of connecting us to the promise of what God has done, is doing and promises yet to do for God’s people.

In the Lutheran movement, we refer to communion is a sacrament. A sacrament is:

  1. Started by Jesus (1 Corinthians 11:23-26)
  2. Uses an earthly element (bread)
  3. Connects us to the promise of God’s love and forgiveness

How often you have communion and how you receive communion can also vary by congregation.  Today many congregations share in communion each time they gather for worship while others share communion once or twice a month.  When you come to the communion table, you might receive a piece of bread or a communion wafer.  You might drink from a common cup, dip the bread in the wine (intinction) or drink from a small individual cup.  Regardless of how you share in the meal, the promise is the same – each time you eat of the bread and drink from the cup, you are united to the promise of forgiveness and new life that Jesus offers us through his death and resurrection.

Action and Reflection Questions

  1. Ask your parents to tell you about what communion means to them.
  2. Think about the last time you were a part of communion at your congregation.  What did you notice about the other people coming up for communion – were they smiling, serious, prayerful?  In the comments below, share what you saw and why you think people looked the way they did.
  3. In the Lutheran movement there are two sacrament.  Communion is one, based on the definition above, what is the second sacrament?

Closing Prayer

Gracious God, we give you thanks for the gift of communion and for your generous gift of love, mercy and forgiveness.  Help us as we experience communion to know that you are now and always will be with you.   Amen.