Friday, May 20, 2011

Ritual: Church of the Nazarene Communion


The administration of the Lord’s Supper may be introduced by an appropriate sermon and the reading of 1 Corinthians 11:23-29; Luke 22:14-20, or some other suitable passage. Let the minister then give the following invitation:
The Lord himself ordained this holy sacrament. He commanded His disciples to partake of the bread and wine, emblems of His broken body and shed blood. This is His table. The feast is for
His disciples. Let all those who have with true repentance forsaken their sins, and have believed in Christ unto salvation, draw near and take these emblems, and, by faith, partake of the life of Jesus Christ, to your soul’s comfort and joy. Let us remember that it is the memorial of the death and passion of our Lord; also a token of His coming again. Let us not forget that we are one, at one table with the Lord.
The minister may offer a prayer of confession and supplication, concluding with the following prayer of consecration:
Almighty God, our Heavenly Father, who out of Your tender mercy gave Your only Son, Jesus
Christ, to suffer death upon the Cross for our redemption: hear us, we most humbly beseech You. Grant that, as we receive these Your creatures of bread and wine according to the holy institution of Your Son, our Savior Jesus Christ, in remembrance of His passion and death, we may be made partakers of the benefits of His atoning sacrifice. We are reminded that in the same night that our Lord was betrayed, He took bread and, when He had given thanks, He broke it and gave it to His disciples, saying, “This is my body given for you; do this in remembrance of me.” Likewise, after supper, He took the cup, and when He had given thanks, He gave it to them, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in my blood, which is poured out for you; do this, whenever you drink it, in remembrance of me.” May we come before You in true humility and faith as we partake of this holy sacrament. Through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
Then may the minister, partaking first, with the assistance of any other ministers present, and when necessary, of the stewards, administer the Communion to the people. While the bread is being distributed, let the minister say:
The body of our Lord Jesus Christ, which was broken for you, preserve you blameless, unto
everlasting life. Take and eat this, in remembrance that Christ died for you.
As the cup is being passed, let the minister say:
The blood of our Lord Jesus Christ, which was shed for you, preserve you blameless unto everlasting life. Drink this, in remembrance that Christ’s blood was shed for you, and be thankful.
After all have partaken, the minister may then offer a concluding prayer of thanksgiving and commitment.

(Italics added for ease of comprehension. From the Manual of the Church of the Nazarene 2009-2013. The Manual is published every four years in a new version after General Assembly by the Nazarene Publishing House.)

This is the ritual I sat under for the Lord's Supper for about 25 years. Even sitting in a United Methodist church where the spoken phrases are different, these words ring in my head. I heard them uttered by at least four different pastors, plus those at seminary who led us in Holy Communion. When Pastor Hamilton lifts up the loaf at CoR I think of those words: ...the Body of our Lord Jesus Christ, which was broken for you...

I am always amazed that Christ's body was broken for ME.

I always find Communion to be a very special time of worship. I am careful to never be casual about it. No matter what your particular theology of communion is, it is important to never take sitting at the Lord's Table for granted or as something routine. "The Lord Himself ordained this holy sacrament..."

1 comment:

  1. I am a member of the Church of the Nazarene here in the Philippines. I liked the way you reflected on that very sacred ceremony. It is also an experience of mine.

    Anyway, may I have your permission to use this post of yours for my requirement in the Bible College. We are to gather ceremonies and rituals of evangelicals. I found your blog very interesting and fitted to what I am searching for.