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Theology and Communion

05.08.17 | Sunday Into Monday | by Rev. Patti Napier

Theology and Communion

    As we shared communion on Sunday, I just wondered...Did you know...

    There are several different words used by churches to signify the breaking of the bread. We may use any one of them but each says something slightly different from the other about that sacrament. Denominations often prefer to use one term over the other. For me personally, sharing in this sacrament reminds me of all of these points.

    Eucharist:

    • Based on the Greek noun "eucharistia" which means thanksgiving. The Eucharist is gratitude, thanksgiving and praise expressed for the wonderful works of God.

    The Lord's Supper:

    • Based on the Greek word "kyriakon deipnon". The Lord's Supper reminds us that we are looking forward to the heavenly banquet .

    Holy Communion:

    • Based on the Latin word "communio" which is sharing in communion. This is then translated to the Greek word "koinonia" which mean  Christian fellowship or joint participation. Therefore this truly reminds us that we are a community of Christians in the present time in fellowship together.
    • In the 1800's the Temperance movement led to concern for alcoholics receiving wine in communion. Mr. Welsh, being a good Methodist, responded with method of pasteurizing grape juice so that fermentation was stopped and a non-alcoholic alternative was developed.
    • Elements that are blessed at the communion table but are not consumed are handled with respect in their disposal. Our communion stewards oversee this act of reverence which we may never see. With the leftover bread and juice...
    • The bread and juice is taken to shut-ins or those hospitalized. Most times there actually is an extra loaf of bread and cup that Jim Shirey will use in his next visitation with shut-ins or hospitalized persons
    • The leftover bread and juice may be reverently consumed by persons following the service. We actually currently have a grow group who consumes the bread the following week when they meet.
    • And finally, the elements can be returned to the earth following Scripture in 2 Samuel 23;16 where water is poured on the ground as an act of worship. The juice may be used to water the grass or a bush and the bread to feed birds.

    What about children? 

    • Children of any age are able to receive the elements. Before they can fully understand what Holy Communion is about, they witness the church family sharing together and see their parents sharing. This act is modeled before they have a full understanding because the church family and their family want them to learn that what is being shared is a very important and sacred act.
    • This begins a journey of deepening understanding. As the children grow in age, their  understanding and commitment will grow out of the teaching by parents and the church in worship and/or Sunday School.  

    What is transubstantiation...

    • Transubstantiation is the Catholic theology stating that what happens during the  ceremony, during consecration, is that the bread and wine are changed in substance into the flesh and blood of Christ even though the elements still appear as bread and wine. This is not a Methodist theology.
    • Consubstantiation is the Lutheran theology stating that what happens in communion is that the body and blood of Christ and the bead and wine co-exist in union with one another. This is not the Methodist theology.
    • Methodist theology states that the past, present and future of the living Christ  come together by the power of the Holy Spirit so that we may receive and  embody Jesus Christ as God's saving gift for the world.

     
    Thanks for reading!!!  

    Blessings, Patti
     
    Rev. Patti Napier
    Senior Pastor
    Carmel UMC