Holy Communion: What is it?

July 9th, 2019

I had never been asked the question before. When the monthly food pantry operates on the church property, clients are received in the sanctuary to complete paperwork and to wait for their turn to shop. One woman, while waiting in the sanctuary, opened The United Methodist Hymnal and looked at the basic pattern for worship. She then asked, “What is that?” while pointing to the words “Holy Communion.” She explained that she was raised in a church that did not take Communion regularly, and the only experience she had with the bread and cup were at another church that denied her participation. To her knowledge, although raised in a Christian faith community, she had never partaken in the sacrament of Holy Communion.

Communion “sustains us [and] fills us physically and spiritually.”* We believe that Communion is a means of grace, one of the many ways that God brings grace and love into our lives. When we receive Communion, we receive the real and present love of God in Jesus Christ. This means of grace has the power to transform us, cleanse us and reconcile us back to God through Jesus Christ.

For many Christians, Holy Communion, or the Eucharist, is a regularly anticipated part of worship. For other Christians, Communion is rare. I take Communion for granted, and I wonder how this woman who asked the question receives sustenance for her faith. Of course, God comes to her in many ways, through other means of grace. Still, I am curious what her first experience with Communion would be like. I hope that she would find a new way to receive God’s love and sustenance in a simple piece of bread and a cup of grape juice.

  1. What are your earliest memories of receiving Holy Communion? How would you explain Holy Communion to someone if you were asked what it is?
  2. How does Holy Communion sustain you physically and spiritually? How does Holy Communion reconcile you back to God?
  3. How might you take Holy Communion for granted? What might your faith community do to prevent this from happening? What are other means of grace through which we receive God’s love in Jesus Christ?

This post originally appeared at Christian Living in the Mature Years and as a Current Events Supplement on AdultBibleStudies.com.

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