What does Holy Communion mean to you?

I will be teaching some young people at confirmation class this Sunday night about Holy Communion. I’m thinking about what to tell them to encourage them in the faith and I’m looking for stories.

Holy Communion is called the Mass in the Roman Catholic Church.

In mainline protestant churches, it’s called Holy Communion, Eucharist, the Lord’s Supper, and Sacrament of the Altar (e.g., Lutheran, Anglican). It is regarded as a sacrament.

In evangelical churches, it’s understood and received differently and can be called Holy Communion, the Holy Supper, or the Lord’s Table (e.g., Reformed, Baptist.

I was at a service in a Roman Catholic Church and saw the line of people eagerly waiting to partake in the Eucharistic sacrament. A few questions that went on in my mind were:

  • Were they doing this because it was a commandment of the Lord in scripture (Matthew 26:26-28; 1 Corinthians 10:17; Luke 22:19-20; John 6:35-59)?
  • Were they doing this because they wanted to receive the body and blood of Jesus?
  • Were they doing this to receive forgiveness of sins?
  • Were they doing this because they were taught to do this regularly by the church?
  • Were they doing this to remember the Lord’s defeat of sin, death and evil on the cross?
  • Were they doing this to nourish and strengthen their faith in Christ?
  • Were they doing this to celebrate a thanksgiving for what Christ has done?

Some people report that they feel different after receiving Holy Communion. How do you feel after receiving Holy Communion? Do you feel a difference in receiving the Lord’s Supper? Has it made a difference to your faith and the way you feel about God?

11 thoughts on “What does Holy Communion mean to you?

  1. Kevin S.

    Thanks Kenneth, that’s a profound experience with God in Jesus. All though I don’t experience it the same way as you, I can appreciate it. We all need to feel Jesus in our worship of him. Praise God!

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  2. Kevin S.

    Kenneth, it’s interesting how everyone has some preferences in how they connect with God. Some through the scriptures, some through prayer, some in praise/worship/hymns, some through communion. Though communion is not my first connection (it’s singing for me), I find this intriguing. Can you describe how this feels for you when you are taking communion?

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    1. neatnik2009

      As you certainly know, words can prove inadequate to describing certain religious experiences fully. But I will do the best I can. When I eat a small morsel of bread and sip wine from a chalice, I take Jesus into my body. These are most reverent acts, public deeds by which I reaffirm my active faith in and my deep affection for my Lord and Savior. I also pray the Hail Mary silently during this time. On the other side of the sacrament, I am also a Eucharistic Minister in the Episcopal Diocese of Atlanta. Holding a chalice containing consecrated wine, looking another person in the eyes, and saying, “The blood of Christ, the cup of salvation” is a great blessing. And I mean every word of the formula I recite. We human beings need physical manifestations of our invisible God. Jesus left us nearly 2,000 years ago, but he is with us in the most mundane elements of life. These mundane elements include bread and wine. So that is what I feel in connection with communion: a tangible connection with Jesus.
      Regards,
      Kenneth Taylor
      Athens, Georgia

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  3. neatnik2009

    While growing up and taking communion quarterly in rural United Methodist churches in southern Georgia, I wanted communion more frequently. I felt closest to God while taking communion, albeit in the form of grape juice and saltines. Now, as an Episcopalian, I embrace Transubstantiation, which is not the denominations’ official position. And I take communion far more often. As the 1979 Book of Common Prayer tells us, the Holy Communion is the central act of Christian worship.

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  4. Kevin Sam

    Thanks Richard. I especially like the last part of Question 75:

    …that he feeds and nourishes my soul to everlasting life, with his crucified body and shed blood, as assuredly as I receive … and taste with my mouth the bread and cup of the Lord, as certain signs of the body and blood of Christ.

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  5. Richard

    From the Heidelberg catechism:

    Question 75. How art thou admonished and assured in the Lord’s Supper, that thou art a partaker of that one sacrifice of Christ, accomplished on the cross, and of all his benefits?

    Answer: Thus: That Christ has commanded me and all believers, to eat of this broken bread, and to drink of this cup, in remembrance of him, adding these promises: (a) first, that his body was offered and broken on the cross for me, and his blood shed for me, as certainly as I see with my eyes, the bread of the Lord broken for me, and the cup communicated to me; and further, that he feeds and nourishes my soul to everlasting life, with his crucified body and shed blood, as assuredly as I receive from the hands of the minister, and taste with my mouth the bread and cup of the Lord, as certain signs of the body and blood of Christ.

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  6. Kevin Sam

    Nik, yes there is definitely a tangible aspect. May we all do this in remembrance that it is given “for us”–for forgiveness, life, and salvation.

    Tim, it’s so easy to take the Lord’s presence for granted especially when we experience His peace all the time. Communion does have a wonderful way of bringing us closer together in communion as Christ’s holy catholic church.

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  7. Timothy

    Kevin,

    Thanks for the post. As a Catholic, I would answer yes to all 7 of your questions. I don’t think it is any one of them alone, but all of them together. Two additional thoughts I would like to add:

    1) While there are times when I feel a more tangible connection to Our Lord after receiving Holy Communion, more so than in almost every other circumstance of worship, this does not occur every single time I receive Him. I am one who not only goes to Mass on Sunday, but also multiple times during the week. Because I go more often then once a week, it can lead, unfortunately, to me not always being as aware of His presence when I receive the Sacrament as I should. Yet, no matter how unworthy I am, the Lord always remains faithful to His promise. He remains present in the Eucharist, even when I take Him for granted. To me, this is a great comfort.

    2) One of the things that is most significant for me when receiving Communion is that it unites me with not only Our Lord, but also with those who are receiving Him throughout the world. While we consume the Body of Christ, we as the “Body of Christ” are united. And in this, there is even a mystical unity that stretches all the way to those who are praising Him in the Heavenly court. So, in that way, I can be united with those who have died in Christ, even those whom I knew, both family and friends who have died. And there is a certain joy and reassurance, then, when united with the congregation, each person who is about to receive the Eucharist responds after the consecration, quoting St. Paul: “When we eat this bread and drink this cup we proclaim your death Lord Jesus until you come in glory.”

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  8. Nik

    When I worship God in spirit, read the gospel, pray – these are intimate practices. But while receiving Communion, there is a tangible aspect: holding the body and the blood in my hands. Paul informed us how serious the observance is. The main phrase that stands out in my mind while receiving Communion; found in 1 Corinthians 11:25 – “…do this, whenever you drink it, in remembrance of me.” We were all commanded to remember; every month we are reminded that the body of Jesus Christ was broken, and His blood was poured out for us all, for the forgiveness of our sins – for our salvation.

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