I handed out this primer yesterday in our service as a resource for those longing to experience Christ more at His table!
I. Communion Passages: Jesus – Matthew 26:26-29; Mark 14:22-25; Luke 22:17-20; John 6:53-56; Luke – Acts 2:42. 20:7; Paul – I Cor. 10:21; I Cor. 11:20-22; I Cor. 11:23-29; (see full passages under “resources”)
II. Names of in Scripture: Lord’s Supper – I Cor. 11:20; Table of the Lord – I Cor. 10:21; Breaking of Bread – Acts 2:42 & 20:7; Sacrament & Eucharist are not found in the New American Standard Bible
III. A Prayer Before Holy Communion from the Agbia: “Lord, I am not worthy to have You come under my roof because I am a sinner, but only say the word; “your sins are forgiven” and my soul will be healed. I am barren and empty of any goodness; I have nothing but Your compassion, mercy and love to mankind. You descended from Your Heavenly Glory to our humility and consented to be born in a manger. O’ Holy Savior, do not reject my humble and miserable soul which is waiting for Your glorified coming. As You did not refuse to enter the leper’s house to heal him, please Lord, come into my soul to cleanse it. As You did not stop the adulteress from kissing Your feet, please do not prevent me from coming near You to receive Your Holy Body and Your Sacred Blood. May this Holy Communion banish every corruption and mortify all my evil desires. Help me to obey Your commandments and heal my soul and my body from every sin. May Your Spirit dwell within me and make me united with You, so I may live for the Glory of Your Name. Amen.” (The Agbia is the prayer book of the Egyptian Coptic Church, which was started 2,000 years ago by the apostle Mark).
IV. A Prayer Before Holy Communion from the Anglican Church/Book of Common Prayer: “Father, we come boldly to the table of Your Son, not trusting in ourselves that we are righteous, but trusting only in you and in your great mercy. We are not fit even to eat the crumbs that fall from Your table. But You Lord, never change. Your mercy never fails. Feed us with the spiritual food of Christ’s body and blood, that we may always abide in him and he in us. Amen.”
V. Appropriate Preparation for – “The Imitation of Christ” – Thomas A Kempis: “There is a vast difference between the Ark of the Covenant with the holy objects it contained, and Your most pure Body and its indescribable powers. There is an immense difference between the sacrifices of the Old Law that were a prefigurement of the One that was to come, and the true sacrifice of Your Body which completes those of ancient times. Why then, is my heart not aflame in Your holy presence? Why don’t I more carefully prepare myself to receive You, when those holy and ancient patriarchs, prophets, kings and princes, and all the people manifested so great a devotion and love in worshipping You?”
VI. Prayer After Holy Communion from the Agbia: “My tongue praises and my soul glorifies the Lord. My heart rejoices for You have come to me, Lord, and dressed me in purity and allowed me to Your feast. May my union with You today be everlasting.; through it I grow in strength of faith and hope. Let my communion be a symbol of the grace of Your salvation; let it be a purification to my body and my soul and preparation for the everlasting love and joy. To You Lord, I surrender myself and my will, call to You my senses and bless them, and let my mind to be according to Your will. Enlighten my heart, awaken my conscience, cast away all shadows of evil, hush the storms, walk with me and guide me. Give me comfort, quench my thirst, look with love at all my shortcomings, abide with me for the day is coming to an end and stay with me for a new day. You alone are my aim and happiness, now and forever.”
VII. The Glories of Communion for Believers: Thomas A Kempis – Imitation of Christ: “O admirable and hidden grace of the Sacrament, you are known only to Christ’s faithful followers! Those who lack faith and are slaves of sin are incapable of recognizing this grace and sharing in it. In this Sacrament spiritual grace is conferred, the soul’s lost strength is replenished and its beauty, once disfigured by sin, is restored. And sometimes this grace, flowing from the fullness of devotion, not only fortifies the recipient’s mind, but also gives strength to the body debilitated by sin.”
VIII. Its Historical Impact: “Historians are unanimous in their testimony that from the beginning this sacrament was viewed as a great mystery, to which was attached profound doctrinal significance and the highest spiritual efficacy. With the visible elements, it was believed, were mystically the body and blood of the Lord. Those who in faith partook of this Supper enjoyed essential communion with Christ.” Prof. E.J. Wolf, D
IX. Its Significance in the Kingdom of God:
“the most solemn and dignified of services” – Leon Morris, scholar.
“The Lord’s supper is the highest expression and the holiest exercise of Christian worship.” J. Vernon McGee
“Where beloved, can we find richer instruction than at the table of our Lord? He who understands the mystery of incarnation and of substitution, is a master in Scriptural theology. There is more teaching in the Saviour’s body and in the Saviour’s blood than in all the world besides.” C. H. Spurgeon
“The purpose of the Lord’s Supper is to receive from Christ the nourishment and strength and hope and joy that come from feasting our souls on all that He purchased for us on the cross, especially His own fellowship.” John Piper
“No doubt a man may be saved, like the penitent thief, without having received the Lord’s Supper. It is not a matter of absolute and indispensable necessity, like repentance, faith, and conversion. But it is impossible to say that any professing Christian is in a safe, healthy, or satisfactory condition of soul, who habitually refuses to obey Christ and attend the Lord’s Table.” J.C. Ryle
“Such as make the sacrament only a representation of Christ do aim short of the mystery, and come short of the comfort.” Thomas C. Watson (c. 1620-1686 – – English Nonconformist Puritan preacher and author)
X. Definition of Sacrament: a religious ceremony or act of the Christian Church that is regarded as an outward and visible sign of inward and spiritual divine grace, in particular.
• (in the Roman Catholic and many Orthodox Churches) the rites of baptism, confirmation, the Eucharist, penance, anointing of the sick, ordination, and matrimony.
• (among Protestants) baptism and the Eucharist.
Definition of Eucharist:
1. the Christian ceremony commemorating the Last Supper, in which bread and wine are consecrated and consumed.
the consecrated elements, especially the bread.