Communion At CPC
The Lord's Supper
This document has been prepared by the Traditional Worship Ministry Committee to describe how and why we celebrate the sacrament of the Lord’s Supper at Carmel Presbyterian Church. Much of the general information has come from ECO Theology and Resources: The Lord’s Supper, 2022 Edition.
COMMUNION AT HOME
When we cannot meet in person, how will we come to the Lord’s Table? In normal times, we take communion to members of our congregation who are homebound. Our Session has approved extending this vital service by offering online communion to our homebound congregation during this unprecedented time.
WHAT WE BELIEVE
The Communion of the Saints
When we profess our faith through the Apostles’ Creed, we affirm our belief in “the communion of the saints.” During this time of COVID-19, we may not all be able to gather together in one physical place. But we remember that even when we are not physically together, we are spiritually together because of our union with Christ. This is our true communion.
The Real Presence of Christ
One of our church’s Confessional Standards, The Westminster Confession, explains the real presence of Christ in the elements (abbreviated):
Worthy receivers, when outwardly partaking of the elements, do inwardly by faith spiritually receive and feed upon Christ crucified and all benefits of his death. In the Lord’s Supper, the body and blood of Christ is spiritually present.
Although we know that it is not ideal, we believe that online communion for those who truly desire it can provide the same spiritual presence of Christ in the elements.
HOW TO PREPARE FOR COMMUNION AT HOME
Participate with Your Household
John Knox, one of our Presbyterian forebears, encouraged families to participate together in worship and would celebrate communion in people’s homes. We can do the same with our household while we are homebound.
Prepare the Elements
Prepare for communion before the online service starts. Set out the elements of the cup and the bread, so you will be ready to participate in the Lord’s Supper during the worship service.
Examine Your Heart
Before coming to the Lord’s Table, examine your heart and relationships and take steps toward forgiveness and reconciliation. Seek forgiveness from the Lord, as in the prayer of David in Psalm 51:10-12:
Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right spirit within me.
Cast me not away from your presence, and take not your Holy Spirit from me.
Restore to me the joy of your salvation, and uphold me with a willing spirit.
Communion is also called “Eucharist” (Thanksgiving) and the “joyful feast of the Lord.” Reflect on all for which you are thankful and for all that has given you joy. Prayerfully express your gratitude to the Lord.
During the online service, as the pastor directs, partake of the bread and the cup, knowing that others in the body of Christ are communing with you.
If you are with other brothers or sisters in Christ, please serve each other, saying:
The body of Christ given for you.
The blood of Christ shed for you.
If you are physically separated from other brothers and sisters in Christ, remember that Jesus said, “I am with you always, to the end of the age.” Please feel the power and presence of Jesus Christ in your heart, then allow the Pastor to serve you online.
Finally, Remember These Words:
“There is one body and one Spirit, just as you were called to one hope when you were called; one Lord, one faith, one baptism; one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all.” Ephesians 4:4-6