Bread and Wine Meal 2014-11
If we are practicing Christians, we know what is meant by the celebration of the Meal. Call it Communion, the Eucharist, the Meal, or whatever your Christian faith calls it. Theologians can describe it in any way they want, but I could call it the Rite of Life.
This Christian rite commemorates the time of the Last Supper of Jesus with his disciples. In the Bible it tells that— on the night before his death, Jesus consecrated bread and wine and gave them to his disciples, saying “this is my body” then saying “this is my blood.” He also gave instructions to his followers to repeat this rite in his memory, and the Eucharist traditionally involved the consecration of bread and wine by the leader and this followed the consumption by worshipers. This celebration along when the first Christians gathered to share a meal, this rite soon became a central part of the formal worship service and, in a way; it still is the main part. It has also been a source of division because of differing interpretations of its nature.
For the Roman Catholics the Eucharist, as it became to be known is a Sacrament, and the bread and wine are thought to become the actual body and blood of Jesus through what is called the transubstantiation. Anglicans and those of the Lutheran religion also emphasize the divine presence in the offering and recognize it also as a Sacrament, while other religions may just regard it as a memorial type thing with largely symbolic meaning.
The term Eucharist is a Middle English term that started actually about the 14th century, so this word is somewhat new. The Catholics would use this as the Sacrament of the Holy Communion, signifying the consecration of the bread and wine and the actual partaking of the meal at the Lord’s Supper.
Lutherans believe that the body and blood of Christ are “truly and substantially present in, with and under the forms” of the consecrated bread and wine (the elements), so that communicants orally eat and drink the holy body and blood of Christ Himself as well as the bread and wine ( Augsburg Confession, Article 10) in this Sacrament. I have read that the Lutheran doctrine of the Real Presence is more accurately and formally known as “the Sacramental Union.” I have never heard of this phrase before, so include it, and hope that it is factual at my church.
It, the communion doctrine, has been inaccurately called “consubstantiation“. This term is specifically rejected by some Lutheran churches and theologians since it creates confusion about the actual doctrine, and it subjects the doctrine to the control of a biblical philosophical concept in the same manner as, in their view, does the term “transubstantiation by some, such as the Catholics.
I think all these words somewhat makes for a wide area of confusion, brought upon by man as a religious concept during the service. I do not believe that it is the actual blood and body of Jesus Christ, but the bread and wine both represent Jesus. We honor our Lord by remembering Him and the sacrifice that He made for mankind. For me, it is easier to think of it this way, but I still believe it has deep religious meaning.
When I take communion and the bread and wine come to me or I take it from my Pastor, I take the time to thank Jesus and say, “Thank you Jesus” as I take each and, if by intinction, my dipping the bread into the wine. If the Pastor or Lay Assistant is giving each, then I say this as I take each from them, and dip into the cup.
I believe that rules, policy and ways of doing things were developed over time, going back to the time of Jesus, when he instructed his disciples to partake of the bread and wine.
In the past, I took communion by rote. I went through the motions, listened to the minister say the words that were said, and finished like many others. Since my Spiritual Journey began, well, sometime after it began, I felt the presence of my Lord Jesus Christ during the communion service. It is not just the bread and wine, but His presence is with me, either beside or around me. As far as that goes, I feel His presence always now, regardless of what I am doing.
This Presence is not something to be afraid of or in any way resent, but instead, something I feel is welcome and comforting to know and realize. To think that God in the form of Jesus Christ is watching me always, seeing what I do, hearing me when I talk to Him, having Him touch me, such as a hand on my shoulder, is so very great. The least I can do is thank the Lord Jesus Christ, when I try to remember Him during the simple act of communion. I wear a cross to remind me of His presence and it helps me in my daily life in trying to live a life as a disciple of Christ.
Many of the church procedures were arrived at in time. They were thought of, embellished and became a way of doing things. The higher ups, those in charge, decided on the way things were going to be done and then it became church law or rules. I must say even having the requirement that an ordained person be officiating is still a man-made rule. I am not suggesting any change and will go along with these, but feel that they are still archaic in a way, and not that important overall in life as being a Christian. It is important to those in charge, but that is the way it is now and has been in the past. If I was on a desert island with a bunch of people, I feel I could partake in communion, not have an official clergy present, and still have the service and communion as part of my life.
I am not going against my religion’s mandates and rules. I said I did not suggest any change, but will go along with the dictates of the religion I follow. There is nothing in the Bible that states I must follow this way or that way—- or else. I said at the beginning, you could call the act of communion, The Rite of Life, and, somewhat, that is how I see it. We are given the chance of eternal life, through Jesus Christ and the Cross and that is something I do believe in and I look at the Meal as the way to remember Him, forever in my time on Earth.