The Shape: Eucharist

The Sacrament we often observe in our services has several different names in Scripture, such as the Lord’s Supper, Communion or Holy Communion, The Table of the Lord, and the Breaking of Bread. One of the oldest names, and one used increasingly today, is “Eucharist.”

The Greek word “eucharist” means “thanksgiving.” A form of the word is found in each of the four New Testament accounts of the Last Supper (Matthew 26:26-30; Mark 14:22-26; Luke 22:14- 24; I Corinthians 11:23-26) where Jesus gave thanks over the bread and the cup before giving them to the disciples.

The New Testament Church followed the example of Jesus in giving thanks by the use of the life-giving elements of bread and the fruit of the vine.

Eucharist means thanksgiving for all that God has accomplished in the history of salvation, for what He is doing now in the world and in the Church, and for the future fulfillment of God’s kingdom which we anticipate each time we gather at the Lord’s Table. The Eucharist is but an “appetizer” for the final feast in God’s future Kingdom.

Let us then receive his gifts in the spirit of Charles Wesley’s hymn:

Come, let us join with one accord

Who share the supper of the Lord,

Our Lord and Master’s praise to sing;

Nourished on the earth with living bread,

We now are at His table fed,

But wait to see our heavenly King.

To see the great Invisible

Without a sacramental veil,

With all His robes of glory on,

In rapturous joy and love and praise

Him to behold with open face,

High on His everlasting throne. 


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