Blessings to you, the readers of this page, in Jesus Christ our Lord. May He guide you and protect you always.

A Ceremony For Holy Communion

You can receive Holy Communion here.


a service of INTERNET CHURCH OF CHRIST, Rev. Bill McGinnis, Pastor

Rev. August 6, 2002

Introduction To Holy Communion

The ceremony of Holy Communion is given to us by Christ Himself, so that we might remember and participate in His last supper with His disciples. He commands us to observe it. Do this "in remembrance of me," He says. (Luke 22:19; 1 Corinthians 11:24-35)

This ceremony is written for Christians to use in a group meeting. If, however, you are alone, you may also use this ceremony. Simply take the role of "leader" in all segments.

In this ceremony, we faithfully re-enact the events of His last supper, as described in the Bible. We eat a meal, break bread and eat it, drink wine, and hear His words. Then we sing a hymn and leave, just as they did. IF THE OCCASION DOES NOT PERMIT THE MEAL TO BE SERVED, YOU MAY SKIP IT AND SIMPLY DO THE BREAD AND WINE PARTS OF THE CEREMONY.

The bread must be in loaves, so it can be broken in the normal manner. Bread that is already cut up will not do; each person's piece must be broken from a loaf, following the example of Jesus. The reason for this is that the breaking of the bread symbolizes the breaking of His body on the cross. Unleavened bread is not required, since Christians are not bound by Jewish dietary laws.

The drink specified is wine, not grape juice or some other substitute. If normal red wine is prohibited by law for some reason, non-alcoholic wine may be used. It is still called wine.

Each part of the ceremony is led by a person who is designated "Leader" of that part. Everyone else who partakes of Holy Communion is called "the Assembly." The entire procedure, from the beginning of the meal to the benediction is part of the Holy Communion.

Test For Worthiness

However, not everyone should partake of Holy Communion, only those who can do so "worthily." Paul cautions us in this matter, saying that each person should examine himself to see if he is eating and drinking "worthily."

There are two possible understandings of the word "worthily," as used here. First, it can mean, "Make sure you are worthy to take communion." Second, it can mean, "When you take communion, do so in a worthy manner. Be sure you distinguish (discern) the Body (bread) and Blood (wine) of Christ from the other food at the meal. Treat it reverently, do not just gulp it down."


             1 Corinthians 11:27-30 (KJV)
                                          
             27
                    Wherefore whosoever shall eat this bread, and drink
                    this cup of the Lord, unworthily, shall be guilty of
                    the body and blood of the Lord.
             28
                    But let a man examine himself, and so let him eat of
                    that bread, and drink of that cup.
             29
                    For he that eateth and drinketh unworthily, eateth
                    and drinketh damnation to himself, not discerning the
                    Lord's body.
             30
                    For this cause many are weak and sickly among you,
                    and many sleep.

If you meet the conditions set forth in Romans 10:9, then you are a Christian. If you also forgive everyone of all their offenses against you, then God forgives you of all your offenses against Him, "as far as the east is from the west." Thus, you are a true disciple, spotless before Him. Now you are worthy to take Holy Communion.

                        "That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the
                         Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart
                         that God hath raised him from the dead, thou
                         shalt be saved." (Romans 10:9 KJV)

                   "For if ye forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly
                    Father will also forgive you:
             
                   "But if ye forgive not men their trespasses, neither
                    will your Father forgive your trespasses."
                               (Matthew 6:14-15 KJV)
           "As far as the east is from the west, so far hath he removed
            our transgressions from us." (Psalms 103:12 KJV)


If you do not believe in the Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, risen from the dead as your own personal Lord and Saviour, you are not worthy to take Holy Communion. Likewise, if you have any unforgiveness in your heart toward any person, you are not worthy. Forgive everybody now, and then you may proceed.

As a final check, ask the Holy Spirit dwelling within you to confirm that you are worthy to take Holy Communion. As always, do what He tells you to do.

Bear in mind that your worthiness is by the grace of God, not because of any excellence on your part.

The Ceremony Itself

Welcome To The Ceremony

The Leader rises and welcomes the Assembly to the ceremony of Holy Communion.

He explains the purpose of Holy Communion, and he outlines the events of the ceremony.

He explains the need for worthiness and the tests for it.

For those who find themselves unworthy, the Leader offers an opportunity to eat the food anyway, separate from the Assembly, probably in an adjoining room.

Invocation

The leader invites the Lord to be present at this ceremony. The leader expresses the love of the Assembly for the Lord.

                "O Lord, we know that You are everywhere,
                 And nothing happens that You cannot see,
                 But even so, we pray that You will come
                 And join with us directly at this time.
                 As we seek our communion now with You.
                 We love You, Lord. We give ourselves to You.
                 And now we pray You give Yourself to us.
                 In Jesus' holy name we pray, Amen."

Optionally, a hymn may be sung.

Reading Of The Scriptures

The Leader reads the scriptures which describe The Last Supper.

                                          
                    Matthew 26:26-30 KJV
             26
                    And as they were eating, Jesus took bread, and
                    blessed it, and brake it, and gave it to the
                    disciples, and said, Take, eat; this is my body.
             27
                    And he took the cup, and gave thanks, and gave it to
                    them, saying, Drink ye all of it;
             28
                    For this is my blood of the new testament, which is
                    shed for many for the remission of sins.
             29
                    But I say unto you, I will not drink henceforth of
                    this fruit of the vine, until that day when I drink
                    it new with you in my Father's kingdom.
             30
                    And when they had sung an hymn, they went out into
                    the mount of Olives.
                    
                      
                    Mark 14:22-26 KJV
             22
                    And as they did eat, Jesus took bread, and blessed,
                    and brake it, and gave to them, and said, Take, eat:
                    this is my body.
             23
                    And he took the cup, and when he had given thanks, he
                    gave it to them: and they all drank of it.
             24
                    And he said unto them, This is my blood of the new
                    testament, which is shed for many.
             25
                    Verily I say unto you, I will drink no more of the
                    fruit of the vine, until that day that I drink it new
                    in the kingdom of God.
             26
                    And when they had sung an hymn, they went out into
                    the mount of Olives.
                                     
     
                    Luke 22:15-20 KJV
             15
                    And he said unto them, With desire I have desired to
                    eat this passover with you before I suffer:
             16
                    For I say unto you, I will not any more eat thereof,
                    until it be fulfilled in the kingdom of God.
             17
                    And he took the cup, and gave thanks, and said, Take
                    this, and divide it among yourselves:
             18
                    For I say unto you, I will not drink of the fruit of
                    the vine, until the kingdom of God shall come.
             19
                    And he took bread, and gave thanks, and brake it, and
                    gave unto them, saying, This is my body which is
                    given for you: this do in remembrance of me.
             20
                    Likewise also the cup after supper, saying, This cup
                    is the new testament in my blood, which is shed for
                    you.

                    1 Corinthians 11:23-25 KJV
                                          
             23
                    For I have received of the Lord that which also I
                    delivered unto you, that the Lord Jesus the same
                    night in which he was betrayed took bread:
             24
                    And when he had given thanks, he brake it, and said,
                    Take, eat: this is my body, which is broken for you:
                    this do in remembrance of me.
             25
                    After the same manner also he took the cup, when he
                    had supped, saying, this cup is the new testament in
                    my blood: this do ye, as oft as ye drink it, in
                    remembrance of me.

    

The Meal Itself (optional, as the situation permits)

The Leader gives thanks to the Lord for the food.

The food is served.

Food is eaten, but not finished.

Eating the Bread, Drinking The Wine

During the meal, at an appropriate moment, the Leader gains the attention of the Assembly.

The Leader blesses the loaves of bread and gives thanks for them.

        "O Lord, please bless this bread to our use. Let it
         become Your body, given for us."

In sight of the Assembly, the Leader breaks the loaves of bread into individual servings.

The Leader says, "Jesus said, Take, eat: this is my body, which is broken for you: this do in remembrance of me."

The Leader distributes the bread, asking the Assembly to please wait until everyone has both bread and wine before anyone starts eating or drinking.

The Leader blesses the wine and gives thanks for it.

        "O Lord, please bless this wine to our use. Let it
         become Your blood, shed for us."

The Leader says, "Jesus said, This cup is the new testament in my blood: this do ye, as oft as ye drink it, in remembrance of me."

The Leader distributes the wine.

The Assembly eats the bread and drinks the wine.

Thanking The Lord For Giving Himself To Us

The Leader thanks the Lord for giving Himself to us for our sins.
  
              "Thank You, Lord, for giving Yourself to us.
               We love You, and we give ourselves to You.
               In Jesus' holy name we pray, Amen."
The Leader again expresses the love of the Assembly for the Lord.

If A Meal Is Being Served, Finish It Now

A Hymn, A Benediction, Then Dismissal

The Leader leads the assembly in a hymn.

The Leader gives a benediction to the Assembly.


                   "May the grace of Christ our Saviour,
                    And the Father's boundless love,
                    With the Holy Spirit's favor,
                    Rest upon us from above.
                    "Thus may we abide in union
                    With each other and the Lord,
                    And possess, in sweet communion,
                    Joys which earth cannot afford.
                                Amen."
                                     by Rev. John Newton, 1779
                                     Public Domain

The Leader dismisses the Assembly from the Ceremony of Holy Communion.

The Assembly can now rejoin the other people in the next room, and business can continue. Or everybody can leave at this time.

---------------------------------------------------------------
Blessings to you, in Jesus Christ our Lord, Amen.
     Rev. Bill McGinnis, Pastor  <><
     INTERNET CHURCH OF CHRIST
     www.InternetChurchOfChrist.org  

INTERNET CHURCH OF CHRIST
You can contact me, Bill McGinnis, at bmcgin@patriot.net.

Blessings to you. May God help us all.

       Rev. Bill McGinnis, Director - LoveAllPeople.org

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