We Are Nourished in Holy Communion
At Asbury United Methodist Church we celebrate an open Communion on the first Sunday of each month. All Christians are welcome to our table, whatever their denomination. Holy Communion is a family meal, and all Christians are members of Christ’s family.
Like baptism, Holy Communion is regarded by Protestants as a sacrament. That is, it’s an act of worship ordained by Christ and is a means of grace. This does not mean that we become any more worthy of God’s grace by taking part in Communion. Rather, we open ourselves to the divine love that’s already there; we become more ready to receive that love and to respond to it.
Holy Communion (or the Lord’s Supper) is a mystery too deep for words. Its meaning will vary for each of us and from one time to another. But three essential meanings are caught up in this proclamation in our Communion service: “Christ has died; Christ is risen; Christ will come again.” (The United Methodist Hymnal, p.12)
“Christ has died”
In part, Communion is a time to remember Jesus’ death, his self-giving sacrifice on our behalf. As he said to the disciples at their last meal together, “Do this in remembrance of me.” (1 Corinthians 11:24)
In remembering his passion and crucifixion, we remember our own guilt; for we know that in our sin we crucify Christ many times over from day to day. So the Lord’s Supper is a time of confession: “We confess that we have not loved you with our whole heart…We have not heard the cry of the needy.” (The United Methodist Hymnal, p.12)
“Christ is risen”
But Communion is not a memorial service for a dead Jesus. It’s not a time to wallow in our own guilt. It’s a time to celebrate the Resurrection, to recognize and give thanks for the Risen Christ. The bread and wine represent the living presence of Christ among us.
“Christ will come again”
In Communion we also celebrate the final victory of Christ. We anticipate God’s coming reign, God’s future for this world and all creation.
While they were eating, he took a loaf of bread, and
after blessing it he broke it,
gave it to them, and said, “Take; this is my body.”
Then he took a cup, and after giving thanks
he gave it to them, and all of them drank from it.
He said to them,
“This is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many.”