What is Communion?
Communion, also called the Lord's Supper, is an ordinance or special ceremony that Jesus gave His followers to do. (The other ordinance is baptism, where we go under the water - immersion - in the baptism tank at church or in a lake in a public ceremony that shows that we love and believe in Jesus.)
In the Communion service each month, we remember that Jesus died for us. After prayerfully examining ourselves for sin, we eat a small wafer and drink a small cup of grape juice. These symbols remind us of the body and blood of Jesus, which were given to pay the penalty for our sins.
The word Communion means fellowship or relationship between two people. We have Communion with Jesus Christ, showing our love for Him and our desire to obey Him and worship Him. At the same time, we know His love for us and His desire to have a relationship with us.
Why do we have Communion?
- Jesus instituted it as He ate the last Passover meal with His disciples (Matthew 26:26-28). Just as Passover celebrated God's deliverance of Israel from slavery in Egypt, the Lord's Supper, or Communion, celebrates God's deliverance of us from our sins by Christ's death.
- The Bible says we are to do this until He comes again. "For as often as you eat this bread and drink the cup, you proclaim the Lord's death until He comes" (1 Corinthians 11:26)
- We take Communion because of our love for the Lord and our desire to obey Him.
Who should take Communion?
Believers in Jesus Christ who understand what Communion is and why we do it, who have examined themselves and understand that they must do this in a respectful way, may take Communion.
How do we get ready for Communion?
- We take it seriously and examine ourselves for sin so we do not take Communion in an unworthy manner (1 Corinthians 11:27-28).
- We think about what the Lord has done for us and that He is coming again (1 Corinthians 11:24-26).
What happens during the Communion service?
- The pastor explains that we have "open" Communion here, meaning that anyone who is a believer - has accepted Jesus Christ as Savior and received forgiveness of sins and His gift of eternal life - may take Communion at our church, even if this is not their church home.
- The pastor reminds us to pray and examine ourselves for sin and confess that sin to God.
- The pastor gives the elders and ushers trays of wafers to pass down the rows to the people. Each believer takes one and waits until everyone has one, praying and thinking about Christ's death for us. Then the pastor reads Jesus' words, "This is My body, which is for you; do this in remembrance of Me," an elder prays, and then we eat the wafer respectfully and thoughtfully.
- Next the pastor gives the elders and ushers trays of little cups of grape juice to pass out. Again each believer takes one and waits. The pastor reads Jesus' words, "This cup is a new covenant in My blood; do this, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of Me." Again an elder prays and we drink the juice, remembering that Jesus gave his blood so our sins could be paid for and forgiven.
Bible passages to read together
Jesus instituting Communion: Luke 22:7-20, Matthew 26:26-28
The Apostle Paul on Communion: 1 Corinthians 11: 23-34
Passover: Exodus 12: 3-17
Christ, our Passover Lamb: 1 Corinthians 5:7-8, 1 Peter 1:18-19
Questions about CommunionWill taking Communion give me salvation?
No. Salvation is based on faith in Jesus Christ. "For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; not as a result of works, so that no one may boast. For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand so that we would walk in them." Ephesians 2:8-10.Will it help my relationship with the Lord?
Yes. As you think about what He has done for you, confess your sins, commit to obeying Him and living for Him, you will have a renewed relationship and fellowship with Him.What age is best for a child to begin taking Communion?
No specific age is best. The decision on when to take Communion is based on readiness. Is the child saved? Does he or she understand what Communion is and why we practice it? Can he or she pray and do self examination for sin, confess sins, and take Communion with understanding and respect?