Twelve people gathered together at St Botolph’s Church on a Saturday morning to explore the meaning of the Eucharist, or Communion Service (Common worship) as we also call it.
Eucharist comes from the Greek words eucharistein and eulogein which recall the Jewish blessings that proclaim — especially during a meal — God’s works: creation, redemption, and sanctification.
The Eucharistic service is meant to be a journey in which we are challenged, nurtured, fed and sent out to live our faith in action and word.
We arrive at the service knowing our need and acknowledging God’s presence with us. We bless each other at the beginning of the service by commending to each other the presence of Christ in our lives: ‘The Lord be with you’.
We begin this journey recognising our failings and weaknesses which God already knows which is acknowledged in the prayer of preparation. We confess our sins and failings with a desire to make amends and receive God’s forgiveness and a new start. In celebration of our sins forgiven, we stand and with great joy to sing the Gloria! We then hear the ‘Word’ of God which is meant to challenge us, change us and nourish us: the sermon should bring to light the gospel’s meaning and application to your life.
The journey of the Eucharist so far, has been centred on your life and application of faith, it then moves to the intercessions and reminds us that we are part of a bigger world where we need to apply our faith and love.
The peace then gives us an opportunity to acknowledge our Christian brothers and sisters. At this point, in the BCP rubrics (small print) we are told that if we are not in fellowship with our brothers and sisters, we should not take communion.
The Eucharist is the highlight of the service when Christ sits with us at his table (in spirit) and reminds us of how much God loves us. This should be joyful and ‘The Lord is here – His spirit is with us – let us give thanks to the Lord our God!’ is something to celebrate! We then relive the story of Jesus’ final meal with his disciples. Jesus commands them and us, to remember him (his message, his life and his resurrection) each time we break bread and drink wine. As we share in this meal, we join with our brothers and sisters throughout the world to acknowledge Christ as the Messiah.
The service ends with the sending out and in our churches, the commission is said at the end of the service as we face the door. This is a reminder to put into practice the words of Jesus Christ and to make new disciples with the help of God’s active spirit in our lives and community. We are encouraged not be put off by the darkness that can be present in our lives, the community and the world because Christ’s light is brighter and brings salvation.
Another session will be held in the new year on the symbols of the Eucharist such as vestments, clothes, signing or not signing with the cross and other elements that you may have wondered about but have not had the opportunity to ask about. Saturday 12th January 2019, St Botolph’s Church at 10.30 am. A list will go up nearer to the time.
Please do join us for this next exciting exploration of the Eucharist.