If it is part of your tradition, we encourage you to take part in Worship and Communion. Personal prayer life grows in care of the praying community.
"'Not by bread alone does man live, but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God', said our Lord. Bread and word! Host and prayer.
Otherwise, you will not live a supernatural life."
(Josemaría Escrivá: The Way)
We are not making any statement concerning the nature of the Eucharist. This is the Bread of thoughts and the Wine of Feelings shared with you.
For the life of a creature is in the blood, and I have given it to you to make atonement for yourselves on the altar; it is the blood that makes atonement for one's life. (Lev.17:11)
I tell you the truth, unless a kernel of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it remains only a single seed. But if it dies, it produces many seeds. (Jh.12:24)
He makes grass grow for the cattle, and plants for man to cultivate— bringing forth food from the earth: wine that gladdens the heart of man, oil to make his face shine, and bread that sustains his heart. (Ps.104:14-15)
Wisdom has built her house; she has hewn out its seven pillars. She has prepared her meat and mixed her wine; she has also set her table. She has sent out her maids, and she calls from the highest point of the city. "Let all who are simple come in here!" she says to those who lack judgment. "Come, eat my food and drink the wine I have mixed. Leave your simple ways and you will live; walk in the way of understanding." (Proverbs 9:1-6)
On this mountain the LORD Almighty will prepare a feast of rich food for all peoples, a banquet of aged wine— the best of meats and the finest of wines. On this mountain he will destroy the shroud that enfolds all peoples, the sheet that covers all nations; he will swallow up death forever. The Sovereign LORD will wipe away the tears from all faces; he will remove his people’s disgrace from all the earth. The LORD has spoken. In that day they will say, “Surely this is our God; we trusted in him, and he saved us. This is the LORD, we trusted in him; let us rejoice and be glad in his salvation.” (Isaiah 25:6-9)
Bread and wine were widely used in ancient religous cult:
The women added, "When we burned incense to the Queen of Heaven and poured out drink offerings to her, did not our husbands know that we were making cakes like her image and pouring out drink offerings to her?" (Jer.44:19)
The Christian Holy Communion also has its initial image already in the Old Testament:
Then Melchizedek king of Salem brought out bread and wine. He was priest of God Most High. (Gen.14:18)
According to the Psalm 110, Jesus identified with a priest in the order of Melchizedek (Mark.12:35-37):
The LORD has sworn and will not change his mind: "You are a priest forever, in the order of Melchizedek." (Ps.110:4)
The Book of Hebrews is all about Melchizedek theology.
In Genesis 18 the Holy Trinity appears to Abraham, who offers them something to eat, just like today Christ is with us at the table, not as a guest but as a Host.
The Covenant of Moses and 12 tribes has been replaced by the new covenant of Jesus Christ and the 12 apostles. The bread of presence and the blood of sacrifice have been replaced with the bread and wine of holy communion.
While they were eating, Jesus took bread, gave thanks and broke it, and gave it to his disciples, saying, "Take and eat; this is my body." Then he took the cup, gave thanks and offered it to them, saying, "Drink from it, all of you. This is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins." (Mt.26:26-28)
While they were eating, Jesus took bread, gave thanks and broke it, and gave it to his disciples, saying, "Take it; this is my body." Then he took the cup, gave thanks and offered it to them, and they all drank from it. "This is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many," he said to them. (Mk.14:22-24)
And he took bread, gave thanks and broke it, and gave it to them, saying, "This is my body given for you; do this in remembrance of me." In the same way, after the supper he took the cup, saying, "This cup is the new covenant in my blood, which is poured out for you." (Lk.22:19-20)
A Canaanite woman (Mt.15) would have been pleased with the crumbs that fall from the master's table, yet she had a whole meal. Jesus repeatedly ate with tax collectors and "sinners" (Mt.9:11; 11:19; Mk.2:16; Lk.5:30, 7:34) - "The Son of Man came eating and drinking". At the last supper there were Judas who betrayed him, and Peter who disowned him. Paul is telling to do against the clear example of Jesus (1 Cor.5:11)! Salvation and cure for the sickness of sin is available for anyone who shares the table with Jesus! The only demand is to approve Jesus in company. He defended equality of all, first and foremost open communion for supper.
"Your servant will do whatever my lord the king commands his servant to do." So Mephibosheth ate at David's table like one of the king's sons. (2 Sam.9:11)
Jesus and his disciples didn't fast (Mark.2:18-19) and their communion was joyful time together, like a wedding feast, constant festive season. Every meal was a sabbath meal. Followers of Jesus lived Sabbath with their life, for them Jesus was a temple who sanctified their action.
Jesus fed five thousand men: He gave thanks and broke the loaves, saying "You give them something to eat" he gave them to his disciples and they gave them to the people, acting as priests: This is the first Holy Communion. "They all ate and were satisfied"! (Mt.14:15-21; Mk.6:32-44; Lk.9:10-17; Jh.6:1-13)
The most important Bible passages concerning the doctrine of the Eucharist are in John 6, right after hungry crowd was fed:
Jesus said to them, "I tell you the truth, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you have no life in you. Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up at the last day. For my flesh is real food and my blood is real drink. Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood remains in me, and I in him. Just as the living Father sent me and I live because of the Father, so the one who feeds on me will live because of me. This is the bread that came down from heaven. Your forefathers ate manna and died, but he who feeds on this bread will live forever." (Jh.6:53-58)
His most meaningful sevenfold "I am-sayings" recorded by St. John, Jesus Christ begins with "the Bread of Life" (Jh.6) and ends with "the True Vine" (Jh.15), just like the parables in the gospels according to Mark and Luke begin with a sower and end with a Vineyard. "It is certainly remarkable that the Lord's Prayer, as given in St. Luke's Gospel (Lk.11:5-9), is immediately followed by a parable which is based on an urgent call for bread at a most inconveniant hour", wrote Rev. Edward A. Larrabee, S.T.B. Neither it is insignificant that it is exactly the fourth petition of the Lord's Prayer - the midmost of all the seven - which speaks of the Bread! Even the name "Betlehem" means House of Bread - and we can understand the Evangelist is referring to more than mere geographical place.
After the resurrection it came obvious to disciples that they met their Lord most intimately at the table, breaking the bread. It was at the supper when the disciple whom Jesus loved was reclining next to him.
The story of encounter on the road to Emmaus (Lk.24:13-35) includes the structure of the Mass. Like a master who returned from a wedding banquet (Lk.12:35-38) and served himself his servants, Jesus washed his disciples' feet (Jh.13:1-18) for he is among us as one who serves (Lk.22:27). Think about the parable of the lost son (Lk.15:11-31) in the context of the Eucharist too!
Like an apple tree among the trees of the forest is my lover among the young men. I delight to sit in his shade, and his fruit is sweet to my taste. He has taken me to the banquet hall, and his banner over me is love. (Song of Songs 2:3-4)
You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies. You anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows. (Psalm 23:5)
As a young man marries a maiden, so will your sons marry you; as a bridegroom rejoices over his bride, so will your God rejoice over you. (Isaiah 62:5)
Then the angel said to me, “Write this: Blessed are those who are invited to the wedding supper of the Lamb!” And he added, “These are the true words of God.” (Rev.19:9)
Touching Life - The Ultimate Reality
Holy Communion is a strong bell of mindfulness. We drink and eat all the time, but we usually ingest only our ideas, projects, worries, and anxiety. We do not really eat our bread or drink our beverage. If we allow ourselves to touch our bread deeply, we become reborn, because our bread is life itself. Eating it deeply, we touch the sun, the clouds, the earth, and everything in the cosmos. We touch life, and we touch the Kingdom of God. [...] When we are truly there, dwelling deeply in the present moment, we can see that the bread and the wine are really the Body and Blood of Christ and the priest's words are truly the words of the Lord. The body of Christ is the body of God, the body if ultimate reality, the ground of all existence. We do not have to look anywhere else for it. It resides deep in our own being. The Eucharistic rite encourages us to be fully aware so that we can touch the body of reality in us. Bread and wine are not symbols. They contain the reality, just as we do.
- Thich Nhat Hanh: Living Buddha, Living Christ
Behold, I stand at the door...
"Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, then I will enter his house and dine with him, and he with me."
Book of Revelation 3: 14-22
Sometimes, I am at the door to my heart but hear nothing within; Coldness. At other times, I hear God's loving voice, and yet, something holds me back from opening my heart; Fear. But, oh those precious, prayerful moments when I am ready for his loving arrival. Please come into my house! Wondrous Eucharist!
Carry no money bag, no sack, no sandals; and greet no one along the way. Into whatever house you enter, first say, "Peace to this household." If a peaceful person lives there, your peace will rest on him; but if not, it will return to you. Stay in the same house and eat and drink what is offered to you, for the laborer deserves payment. Do not move about from one house to another.' Luke 10:1-9
The only thing we bring on Christ's mission of faith is His peace which we share in a Holy Communion with our sisters and brothers. We are one family under God's roof in His Kingdom of love.
'The mother of Jesus and his brothers came to him but were unable to join him because of the crowd. He was told, "Your mother and your brothers are standing outside and they wish to see you." He said to them in reply, "My mother and my brothers are those who hear the word of God and act on it."
I see Christ in my brothers and sisters each time we come together to celebrate the Eucharist. There, as our eyes meet and we touch one another through the giving and taking of the sacred elements, we are and have always been one true family, sharing in the body and blood of Christ.
The hour is coming, and is now here, when true worshipers will worship the Father in Spirit and truth; and indeed the Father seeks such people to worship him. God is Spirit, and those who worship him must worship in spirit and truth.
True worship is no longer confined to Sunday mornings in holy buildings. May we worship Him as we joyfully prepare and eat meals for and with our loved ones, and as we walk our pets in the summer sunset, and as we greet the grocer checking us out at the cash register. Let us enter into Spirit and truth as we walk throughout this summer weekend, wherever we are and whatever we are doing.
"He said to them, "Come after me, and I will make you fishers of men." At once they left their nets and followed him."
I wish to leave old patterns of behavior that do not edify my essence. I wish to follow the promptings of the Spirit and follow them to the communion of body and blood where my life becomes most real.
"While they were still speaking about this, he stood in their midst and said to them, "Peace be with you."
This event of peace-giving is personal and present for me too. I remember I am in Christ and Christ is in me, and his Word is still speaking from this upper room resonating in the silence and the bread and cup of Eucharist.
"Brothers and Sisters: We hold this treasure in earthen vessels, that the surpassing power may be of God and not from us."
2 Corinthians 4:7-15
We are called to walk the Eucharist into the world as simple human chalices, filled with God's love.
Jesus Living Within Us
When we gather around the Eucharistic table and eat from the same bread and drink from the same cup, saying, "This is the Body and Blood of Christ," we become the living Christ, here and now.
Our faith in Jesus is not our belief that Jesus, the Son of God, lived long ago, performed great miracles, presented wise teachings, died for us on the cross, and rose from the grave. It first of all means that we fully accept the truth that Jesus lives within us and fulfills his divine ministry in and through us. This spiritual knowledge of the Christ living in us is what allows us to affirm fully the mystery of the incarnation, death, and resurrection as historic events. It is the Christ in us who reveals to us the Christ in history.
Jesus Living Among Us
The Eucharist is the place where Jesus becomes most present to us because he becomes not only the Christ living within us but also the Christ living among us. Just as the disciples at Emmaus who had recognised Jesus in the breaking of the bread discovered a new intimacy between themselves and found the courage to return to their friends, we who have received the Body and Blood of Jesus will find a new unity among ourselves. As we realise that Christ lives within us, we also come to realise that Christ lives among us and makes us into a body of people witnessing together to the presence of Christ in the world.
- Henri J.M. Nouwen
Sacrament of Unity
The Eucharist is the sacrament of unity. It makes us into one body. The apostle Paul writes: "As there is one loaf, so we, although there are many of us, are one single body, for we all share in the one loaf" (1 Corinthians 10:17).
The Eucharist is much more than a place where we celebrate our unity in Christ. The Eucharist creates this unity. By eating from the same bread and drinking from the same cup, we become the body of Christ present in the world. Just as Christ becomes really present to us in the breaking of the bread, we become really present to one another as brothers and sisters of Christ, members of the same body. Thus the Eucharist not only signifies unity but also creates it.
- Henri J.M. Nouwen
Jesus, Our Food and Drink
Jesus is the Word of God, who came down from heaven, was born of the Virgin Mary through the power of the Holy Spirit, and became a human person. This happened in a specific place at a specific time. But each day when we celebrate the Eucharist, Jesus comes down from heaven, takes bread and wine, and by the power of the Holy Spirit becomes our food and drink. Indeed, through the Eucharist, God's incarnation continues to happen at any time and at any place.
Sometimes we might think: "I wish I had been there with Jesus and his apostles long ago!" But Jesus is closer to us now than he was to his own friends. Today he is our daily bread!
- Henri J.M. Nouwen
Companion of the Souls
When the two disciples recognised Jesus as he broke the bread for them in their house in Emmaus, he "vanished from their sight" (Luke 24:31). The recognition and the disappearance of Jesus are one and the same event. Why? Because the disciples recognised that their Lord Jesus, the Christ, now lives in them ... that they have become Christ-bearers. Therefore, Jesus no longer sits across the table from them as the stranger, the guest, the friend with whom they can speak and from whom they can receive good counsel. He has become one with them. He has given them his own Spirit of Love. Their companion on the journey has become the companion of their souls. They are alive, yet it is no longer them, but Christ living in them (see Galatians 2:20).
- Henri J.M. Nouwen
The Most Human and Most Divine Gesture
The two disciples whom Jesus joined on the road to Emmaus recognised him in the breaking of the bread. What is a more common, ordinary gesture than breaking bread? It may be the most human of all human gestures: a gesture of hospitality, friendship, care, and the desire to be together. Taking a loaf of bread, blessing it, breaking it, and giving it to those seated around the table signifies unity, community, and peace. When Jesus does this he does the most ordinary as well as the most extraordinary. It is the most human as well as the most divine gesture.
The great mystery is that this daily and most human gesture is the way we recognise the presence of Christ among us. God becomes most present when we are most human.
- Henri J.M. Nouwen
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The Holy Grail
In the first place, we must point out that the very fact of the flowing out of blood together with water from Christ's side has been virtually ignored in dogmatic exegesis. To the extent this fact has been noticed, it has been understood eucharitically. This fact serves as the origin of a cycle of Western legends about the Holy Grail. According to this tradition, the Holy Grail is the eucharistic chalice out of which the Lord gave communion to his disciples at the Last Supper. Into this chalice Joseph of Arimathea collected the blood (and water?) that flowed out of Jesus' side. [...] The Eucharist thereby becomes a repetition in remembrance not only of the Last Supper but also of the Act of Golgotha; the blood (and water) in the holy chalice is not only the blood given by Christ for communion at the Last Supper to all Christianity in the person of the apostles but also the sacrificial blood of redemption (this dual-unity in the legend of the Holy Grail is symbolized by the fact that the chalice of the Last Supper, which ended up in the hands of Joseph of Arimathea, was also the vessel into which Joseph received the precious blood that flowed out of Christ's wound).
- Fr. Sergius Bulgakov: The Holy Grail & The Eucharist (Lindisfarne Books 1997)
During the last meal he shared with his disciples, Jesus took some bread, blessed it, broke it and gave it to them, saying, "Take, eat; this is my body." Then he took a cup of wine, blessed it and gave it to them, saying, "Drink from it. This is my blood. Do this in remembrance of me." These actions and words are repeated by the priest at mass during the communion. The mass can only really be understood if it is interpreted as a ceremony of magic. And communion is the most significant moment of this ceremony, for bread and wine represent the masculine and the feminine, the two great principles at the origin of creation.
- Omraam Mikhaël Aivanhov
The sun's rays enter the wheat. The wheat is converted into bread. Thus the sun's life giving properties are contained in the bread - food and heat.
There are familiar names for morning sunrise: daybreak and crack of dawn. Thus, one receives life by breaking the bread and eating it.
During the colder months of the year when the sun is low on the horizon, atmospheric conditions produce those beautiful red sunrises and sunsets. The red symbolizes wine and blood.
- The Unspoken Bible
Was thinking as a result of the recent Episcopal and Lutheran conventions in which thousands of dollars or more is spent to bring everyone together to have cantankerous battles over women bishops, gay and lesbian clergy and relationships, married priests, not to mention the upkeep of church buildings, that perhaps another way exists for being Church. (Large national synods are coming in the Roman Catholic Church soon here in the States, with the impetus coming from 99% of the church membership--so-called lay folks--not from the hierarchy--so this applies here as well).
Why don't we look to our Jewish brethren for some guidance? Perhaps we could move 'church' back into the home. It seems to me that we could ordain one or two members of a family to serve as celebrants for the household or extended family. This would be similar to Passover or weekly Shabbat (Sabbath) dinners in which bread and wine are blessed in the middle of the family. Ordinations could be held in monastery or convent chapels. Perhaps we might have places to celebrate great feasts with a larger community for those who so wish. We might have servant-bishops as resource persons not rulers.
- Br. Yossi Lopez-Hineynu (excerpt from a blog now unattainable)
Home Eucharist Movement
Formal church attendance within Eucharist based church communities appears to be in decline. Many Christians express frustration towards their denomination, whether it’s Anglican, Roman Catholic and so on. Churches are closing and priest numbers are reducing making availability of a community based Eucharist an increasingly rarer event. The Home Eucharist Movement is an attempt to transcend these issues. We aim to establish regular home Eucharistic services that are:
Open to all people regardless of denomination, ethnic background or sexual orientation;
Not reliant upon the presence of an ordained minister from any established denomination.
We hope to encourage regular ‘lay led’ celebration of the Eucharist in small house gatherings that offer support to each member of the gathering in faith and send us all out to take Christ into the week ahead and to experience the presence of Christ in both the people we meet and the experiences we encounter.
We return after our pilgrimage through the week to give “thanksgiving” for all we have encountered and to be renewed in strength for the week ahead. It is important to remember that the Home Eucharist Movement is not intended to replace the worship undertaken with the larger denominations. This movement has it’s roots in them.
It is an attempt to re-invigorate that worship by encouraging a more personal involvement together with a wider appreciation of Eucharist that transcends the confines of the denomination we belong to, grew up with or walked away from.
- From the Gay Mystic Blog
“MAY this holy Body and Blood, Substance and Spirit, Divine Mother and Father, inseparable Duality in Unity, given for all creatures, broken and shed and making oblation for the world, be everywhere known, adored and venerated! May we, by means of that Blood, which is the Love of God and the Spirit of Life, be redeemed, indrawn and transmuted into that Body which is pure Substance, immaculate and ever virgin, express Image of the Person of God!
That we hunger no more, neither thirst any more; and that neither death nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor height, nor depth, nor any creature, be able to separate us from the Love of God, which is in Christ Jesus.
That being made one through the At-one-ment of Christ, Who only hath Immortality and inhabiteth Light inaccessible; we also, beholding the Glory of God with open face; may be transformed into the same Image, from glory to glory, by the power of the Spirit.”
- Anna Kingsford
"This is a ch_ _ ch - What is missing? -- (U R)"
WORSHIP IN GENERAL
How to have Communion at Home
Missionary Communion Service (The Holy Order of MANS)
AGAPE MEAL OR LOVE FEAST
Moravian Love Feast
Shabbat Fellowship (pdf)
The Agape Meal
The Passover Seder for Christians