We love Communion, (also known as the Lord’s Supper). It is a vital part of our worship together as followers of Jesus. Communion celebrates the person of Jesus and the amazing good news of our faith. Whenever it is celebrated, it should be in a spirit of joy, wonder and reverence. Our hope is your reflection will prepare our church community for Communion and help people focus on Jesus and all his death and resurrection means.
Guidelines for Preparation and Delivery
- Because we value Communion we do expect it has been planned and prepared with the same care and diligence as the other elements of our services.
- Aim to bring a reflection around 5 minutes in length. This means you will have a 1-point message, not a 3-point sermon!
- There are different ways Communion can be celebrated (in pews, lines, around the table, kneeling, Elders serving). If you have an idea, please be in contact with the Pastor to discuss it.
- By taking communion we “proclaim the Lord’s death until he comes” (1 Cor 11:26). Therefore, focus on Jesus and the gospel
- Use the terms ‘bread’ (not cracker/ biscuit/ wafer) and ‘cup’ (not juice/ wine). The bread and the cup are the biblical terms we prefer to use.
- Think in advance about who you would like to serve Communion. You may take the opportunity to ask people who are less involved with services, to get involved. Or, there may be a theme running through the service that you can continue into communion, e.g. youth leaders, children with parents.
- Remember Communion may be used as a time of corporate or personal response.
- Sometimes the order of service might change on the day, please be flexible and be willing to take direction from the worship leader or the Pastor if this occurs;
What to include
- Confession – maybe a responsive prayer, or an introductory prayer followed by space for people to respond in their hearts.
- Thanks – for the bread and cup and what they signify.
- Invitation – Invite people who are followers of Jesus (or want to be) to participate. Communion should be a meaningful experience for people. It is an act of faith in Jesus. We do not determine who can take communion, but we must remind people that their attitude is important.
- 1 Corinthians 11 gives Paul’s instructions on the Lord’s Supper and this familiar passage is often used as part of communion.
- Communion is a time of celebration – though we remember the death of Jesus we also celebrate His resurrection and the eternal life we have through Jesus. Communion should be reverent, but it does not have to be sombre
- Following Communion, there will be a leader who will lead a time of prayer for others.
- Introduce yourself
- Give a short introductory reflection regarding communion
- Read 1 Corinthians 11:23-26 (or equivalent passage – see Scripture resources) and explain what the communion elements mean and what people are to ‘do’.
- Bread – represents the body of Jesus Christ that was given for us.
- Cup – represents the blood of Jesus Christ shed for the forgiveness of sins
- Explain to the congregation the Bread and Cup will be brought around. Eat the bread, remembering what Christ has done. Hold the Cup and we will drink together as the church of which Christ is our Saviour.
- Encourage people to spend time in confession, prayer and reflection with the bread and cup.
- Give thanks for what the Bread & Cup mean
- Invite people to come and serve communion (attendants should emerge)
- Approach the Communion Table and serve the bread, and cup to the attendants
- The Band will play background music. Ensure one of the attendants serve the band the bread/cup otherwise, they may get forgotten.
- Wait until everyone is served.
- Holding a communion cup invite people to drink together and be thankful. Drink together
- Pray to close.
- Handover to the person leading Prayer for Others
Selected passages of Scripture that remind us of the Lord’s death, burial, and resurrection:
- Psalm 22
- Isaiah 53
- Mark 15:21-29
- John 19
- 1 Corinthians 15:1-8
- Galatians 2:16-21
- Ephesians 2:1-10
- Philippians 2:1-11
What is Communion? (The Lord’s Supper or Eucharist)
It is the regular remembrance and celebration of our Lord Jesus’ sacrificial death and powerful resurrection. The breaking and eating of bread have to do with Christ’s body being given on the cross. The drinking from the cup has to do with the shedding of Christ’s blood by which we are forgiven and brought back into a relationship with God (Matthew 26:26-28; 1 Corinthians 11:23-24).
What is the purpose of Communion?
The primary purpose of Communion is to take time to remember all that the Lord did for us. It is a time to worship and give thanks for the forgiveness of our sins and the new life and relationship that we have in Jesus Christ. Jesus initiated this time of remembrance just before His death. In the Old Testament believers were called to remember the faithfulness of God through celebrations such as Passover (which is powerfully linked to Communion). In the New Testament, this is what Jesus wanted us to remember, his love and forgiveness of our sins. (1 Corinthians 11:23-26)
1 Corinthians 11:27-32 explains that communion is a time of personal examination, and it is a time to examine our relationship with the Lord and others.