What Happens in the Holy Communion Service?

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In the Holy Communion service, a type of bread and wine or grape juice is served and eaten in commemoration of the sacrifice Jesus made in dying for the sins of mankind. Christian churches celebrate Holy Communion, also known as the Lord’s Supper, according to the model Jesus set just before his crucifixion.

Churches differ slightly in the way these services are conducted, but the general theme remains the same. Bread or crackers representing Christ’s Body are received by the congregation, usually with the words, “This is the Body of Christ, broken for you.” Then wine or grape juice representing the Blood of Christ is sipped, usually with the words, “This is the Blood of Christ shed for you.” In some churches, the bread and wine is passed around on trays, and everyone serves themselves.

Other churches have the congregation come to the altar or the front of the church and receive them from a pastor or deacon. Some churches take the bread and then the wine separately, while others have each person dip the bread into the wine before partaking of it. Churches often have regulations as to who is allowed to receive the Communion. Some have an open-door policy leaving it up to the individuals, others invite baptized believers to come, and still others prefer that only those of their denomination come. The model for Holy Communion is portrayed in the Bible in Matthew 26:26-29, Mark 14:22-24 and Luke 22:17-19.