What is Communion?
Communion is one of two sacraments in theUnitedChurch. According to John Wesley, an important figure in our church’s history, a sacrament is “an outward and visible sign of an inward and spiritual grace.” Communion is a sacred act of worship instituted by Jesus during which we touch God and God touches us. It is a ritual act through which we remember Jesus and experience his presence using the symbols of bread and wine.
We remember Jesus’ Last Supper with his disciples and the new commandment Jesus offered them: “Love one another as I have loved you” (John 15:12b). In communion we follow the wish of Jesus to “do this in remembrance” of him.
The two elements of communion are bread and the cup of wine or juice. The bread symbolizes Christ’s body broken for us. It also reminds us that his Spirit breaks open our hearts and fills them with love. It is the bread of life. The cup reminds us of the sacrifice of his life that Jesus offered to us. It is also a cup of blessing; as we drink, God’s grace is poured into us.
(adapted from In the Name of Love: A Communion Resource for Congregations. The United Church of Canada,Toronto: 2006)
How do I receive Communion?
At Trinity we have an “open table,” this means that all people regardless of age or denomination are invited to receive communion – all are invited to God’s table. At Trinity communion is typically served by passing the “elements” (bread and grape juice) on trays along the pews. As the tray comes to you, take a piece of the bread, then hold the tray while your neighbour takes the bread. We hold the bread in our hand until everyone has been served and then we eat together. After the bread has been shared, the cups (grape juice) are distributed and shared as above.
Communion is served several times throughout the year: at the start of Lent and Advent, on Easter Sunday, on Christmas Eve as well as a few other times throughout the year. Members of the congregation will contact you ahead of time to remind you of upcoming Communion services.