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Holy Communion


 

Holy Communion (con't.)


Experiencing the Mystery


The Presence of Christ

Christís presence in the sacrament is a promise to the church and is not dependent upon recognition of this presence by individual members of the congregation.  Holy Communion always offers grace.  We are reminded of what God has done for us in the past, experience what God is doing now as we partake, and anticipate what God will do in the future work of salvation.

The Christian church has struggled through the centuries to understand just how Christ is present in the Eucharist.  United Methodists, along with other Christian traditions, have tried to provide clear and faithful interpretations of Christís presence in the Holy Meal.  Our tradition asserts the real, personal, living presence of Jesus Christ.  For United Methodists, the Lordís Supper is anchored in the life of the historical Jesus of Nazareth, but is not primarily a remembrance or memorial.  We do not embrace the medieval doctrine of transubstantiation (the changing of the elements into the actual body of Christ), though we do believe that the elements are essential tangible means through which God works.  We understand the divine presence in temporal and relational terms.  In the Holy Meal of the church, the past, present, and future of the living Christ come together by the power of the Holy Spirit so that we may receive and embody Jesus Christ as Godís saving gift for the whole world.

Because Jesus Christ has promised to meet us there (1 Corinthians 11:23-26), Christians approach the Communion Table with desire and expectation, with awe and humility, and with celebration and gratitude.

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Last revised on 25 October 2008