Holy Communion – The Eucharist
When Jesus had his Last Supper with his disciples, he took bread, blessed it, broke it and distributed it to his friends and said eat this in remembrance of me. He then took a cup of wine, blessed it and passed it around among his friends saying drink this in remembrance of me. We keep up this tradition to this very day by eating a morsel of bread and drinking a sip of wine at our Communion Services. We believe that, in some way, the bread and the wine, become Jesus so that, in consuming the bread and wine, we consume Jesus’ goodness. They say that you are what you eat and we believe that by eating the bread and drinking the wine we become more like Jesus.
Roman Catholics call this service The Mass after the final words from the Latin Mass: Ita Missa Est – It is finished – and we Anglicans still use this term for the Midnight Mass of Christmas, probably because of the alliteration. However, it is much more usual for the service to be called Holy Communion, reflecting the fact that, in this service, we are in communion with God and with each other. The other commonly used name is the Eucharist which is a word made up of two Greek words Eu (water) and Charis (grace) because we believe that the service is a Well of Grace.
In our schedule of services for the three Parishes in the Benefice, I call a said service without hymns Holy Communion, a modern language service with hymns, Family Communion and a prayerbook service with hymns, Parish Communion. Family Services always include communion at Wormingford and Mount Bures and usually include communion at Little Horkesley.
It is customary in the Church of England to have weekly Communion Services and, no matter what other services there are in the Benefice, there will always be at least one Communion service – preferably, one in each church.