Summary: What Christians Believe about the Lord’s Supper from a Methodist perspective.
Welcome, attendance pads, prayer
God of powerful voice, speak once again your words of majesty and love. So often we hear only sounds of uncertainty and anxiety; we long to sense your powerful presence among us. To those who feel fear and powerlessness, speak your life-giving words, “Do not fear, for I have redeemed you.”
We lift up those who feel alone and unloved, whose hands no one holds, whose names have been forgotten. Tell them and tell us, “I have called you by name. You are mine.”
We pray for those facing crises, whether physical or mental, that threaten to overwhelm, who feel as though they may drown in their struggle. Tell them and tell us, “When you pass through the waters, I will be with you.”
We remember those facing personal trials, in communities, families, relationships or calls, who live afraid of being burned by their circumstances. Tell them and tell us, “When you walk through fire you shall not be burned.”
Because we forget so often, O God, remind us all of your love for us and all of your children. Tell us all once again, “You are precious in my sight, and honored, and I love you.” As you speak to us, may we sense your presence and hear your love so that we might share them with all who long for you. In the name of your loving and comforting Son. Amen.
11 Corinthians 11:23-26 : The Message
23Let me go over with you again exactly what goes on in the Lord’s Supper and why it is so centrally important. I received my instructions from the Master himself and passed them on to you. The Master, Jesus, on the night of his betrayal, took bread. 24Having given thanks, he broke it and said,
This is my body, broken for you.
Do this to remember me.
25After supper, he did the same thing with the cup:
This cup is my blood, my new covenant with you.
Each time you drink this cup, remember me.
26What you must solemnly realize is that every time you eat this bread and every time you drink this cup, you reenact in your words and actions the death of the Master. You will be drawn back to this meal again and again until the Master returns.
This will be my last Sermon until August because I will be on vacation and educational leave in July. Maybe you think about my preaching sometimes like this minister I heard about.
He gave an unusual sermon one day, using a peanut to make several important points about the wisdom of God in nature.
One of his members greeted him at the door and said, "Very interesting, Pastor. I never expected to learn so much from a nut."...
We continue today in the series of sermons: What Christians Believe, focusing on the gifts that God has given to the church in the sacraments. The sacraments.
Now, the sacraments are a confusing topic for many, both those who just start coming to church as well as those who have been lifetime believers. We are not at all clear exactly what they mean. In fact, in the churches we make it even more confusing, for we practice them in quite different ways.
In some churches there are no sacraments, only ordinances, a different word for a similar kind of concept. Baptism and Holy Communion in many churches are called ordinances, not sacraments.
In some churches, there are seven sacraments, as in the Roman Catholic church, whereas in Protestant churches, there are generally two sacraments. In some churches, baptism is practiced by putting people all the way under the water, and then only young adults or adults. In some churches, like ours, we baptize children and we pour water over their head.
In some churches, they take holy communion by having people sit in the pews and they pass a plate down the aisle and you take a little cup and drink, and in other churches you come forward and you take the bread and you dip it in the cup as we do here sometimes. And in still others, you drink from the cup.
And of course here we use juice in communion instead of wine as many other protestant churches do. Here’s the story behind the use of juice:
The possibility of the practice goes back to the late 19th century and a Methodist dentist named Thomas Bramwell Welch.
Apparently Welch had scruples about the use of wine and had heard of Louis Pasteur’s process of pasteurization of milk. Welch was successful in applying the process to grape juice, and he began to use it in his church, where he was a Communion steward. His son, Dr. Charles Welch, was an enterprising Methodist layman (a dentist, like his father) from southern New Jersey.