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We believe that the Lord's Supper is a sign
by which the church thankfully remembers the new covenant which Jesus
established by his death. In this communion meal, the members of the church
renew our covenant with God and with each other. As one body, we participate
in the life of Jesus Christ given for the redemption of humankind. Thus
we proclaim the Lord's death until he comes.1
The Lord's Supper points to Jesus Christ, whose body was given
for us and whose shed blood established the new covenant.2
In sharing the bread and cup, each believer remembers the death of Jesus
and God's act of deliverance in raising Jesus from the dead. As we relive
this event with a common meal, we give thanks for all God's acts of deliverance
in the past and present, for the forgiveness of sins, and for God's continuing
grace in our lives.
The supper re-presents the presence of the risen Christ in the church.
As we partake of the communion of the bread and cup, the gathered body
of believers shares in the body and blood of Christ3
and recognizes again that its life is sustained by Christ, the bread of
Remembering how Jesus laid down his life for his friends, we his followers
recommit ourselves to the way of the cross. Confessing our sins to one
another and receiving forgiveness, we are to come as one body to the table
of the Lord. There we renew our baptismal covenant with God and with each
other and recognize our unity with all believers everywhere in all times.
All are invited to the Lord's table who have been baptized into the
community of faith, are living at peace with God and with their brothers
and sisters in the faith, and are willing to be accountable in their congregation.
Celebrating the Lord's Supper in this manner, the church looks forward
in joy and hope to the feast of the redeemed with Christ in the age to
On the night that he was betrayed, Jesus and his disciples gathered
to eat the Passover meal. This annual celebration called to remembrance
God's great act of delivering the people of Israel from slavery in
Egypt (Exodus 12). Jesus' Last Supper signaled that he was leading
his followers in a new exodus out of bondage and into salvation. Through
Jesus' death and resurrection, God has rescued believers from sin
and evil and brought them into a new covenant. The new people of God
created through this covenant is continuous with the people of the
old covenant, whom God rescued from bondage in Egypt. The people of
the new covenant includes all who have confessed Jesus Christ as Lord
The bread of the Lord's Supper is a sign of Christ's body, and the
cup is a sign of the new covenant in his blood (Luke 22:19-20). As
Christians eat the bread and drink the cup, they experience Christ's
presence in their midst. The Lord's Supper both represents Christ
and is a way in which Christ is present again ("re-present") in the
body of believers. In this meal, the church renews its covenant to
be the body of Christ in the world and to live the life of Christ
on behalf of others.
The communion meal is a sign of the unity of believers with one
another as the church (1 Corinthians 10:17). As branches are part
of the vine, so believers are to be united with each other in Christ.
Believers are to come to the Lord's table in a worthy manner, without
factions among them (1 Corinthians 11:17-22, 27-34). Churches are
encouraged to find ways to promote reconciliation and to prepare members
for communion. The believers' covenant with one another includes the
pledge of love for brothers and sisters, of mutual accountability,
of confession and forgiveness of sins, and of the sharing of material
and spiritual resources as there is need. Such love and sharing reaches
around the world as the church recognizes its global unity.
This joyful, yet solemn fellowship in the Lord's Supper is a foretaste
of the fuller joy to come when all believers will feast with Christ
in the reign of God (Revelation 19:9; compare Isaiah 25:6-8).
Like baptism, the Lord's Supper is a sign, representing both God's
action and covenant faithfulness in delivering us from sin and death,
and representing the action of those who recommit to faithfulness
in covenant with God. Because the church's response to God's salvation
through Jesus includes thankfulness, the Lord's Supper has sometimes
been called "eucharist," which means "thanksgiving." And because the
Lord's Supper represents an event in which Jesus invited the community
of his disciples to share the cup and the bread in fellowship with
him and with each other around the same table, it is sometimes called
The practice of the early church was to celebrate the Lord's Supper
frequently, every Lord's day or even daily (Acts 2:46). The Anabaptists
in the sixteenth century also shared the Lord's Supper often as a
sign of their renewed covenant with God and each other. Our churches
are encouraged to celebrate the Lord's Supper frequently, so that
they may participate in the rich meanings of this event for the worship
and life of the church.
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13. Foot Washing
- 1 Corinthians 11:26.
- Jeremiah 31:31-34; 1 Corinthians 11:24-25.
- 1 Corinthians 10:16.
- Luke 22:15-20, 28-30.