On this past Sunday, we participated in the Lord’s Supper for the first time at Shore Community Church. Like the early church did, we had a HUGE meal afterward, and everything was very good. The Lord’s Supper is a tradition that has been practiced since the beginning of Christianity. Instructions to observe this ordinance comes from our Lord himself and we see in the letter of 1 Corinthians that within a few years of Jesus’s instruction, his followers as far away as Greece were observing the Lord’s Supper. Since that time the church has participated in this ceremony in varying ways to identify ourselves with Jesus in what he has accomplished for us, what he is working in us now, and what he will one day complete.
We hold the Lord’s Supper as one of the ordinances of the church. An ordinance is a ceremony Jesus himself instituted to be part of the worship of his followers. In my church we believe there are two: Lord’s Supper and Baptism. This ordinance has been called at least three different things throughout the centuries. All three are valid, in my opinion, and are all based on Scripture.
1. Lord’s Supper: 1 Corinthians 11:20 says. “When you come together, it is not the Lord’s supper that you eat.” When the church gathers for the ordinance, it is appropriately called “Lord’s Supper” as it says in this passage.
2. Communion: 1 Corinthians 10:16 says in the King James Version, “The cup of blessing which we bless, is it not the communion of the blood of Christ? The bread which we break, is it not the communion of the body of Christ?” Many modern-day translations use a different word for “communion” but this is where the term comes from for the ordinance.
3. Eucharist: 1 Corinthians 11:23-24 says, “For I received from the Lord what I also delivered to you, that the Lord Jesus on the night when he was betrayed took bread, and when he had given thanks, he broke it, and said, “This is my body which is for you. Do this in remembrance of me.” The words “given thanks” are a form of a word transliterated as Eucharist. So, this is a Greek word that is carried over into English usage, much like the terms “Amen” or “Hallelujah” are Hebrew words carried over into English usage. The tradition I have been part of rarely if ever used this term, so I rarely use it. However, it is Scriptural and it is appropriate to refer to this ordinance as Eucharist.
I’ll comment more on the Lord’s Supper soon…