Every month Covenant celebrates Communion - the Lord's Supper. We have the privilege to sit at table with Jesus Christ and receive the banquet of the kingdom of God. Chapter 29 of the Westminster Confession describes the Lord's Supper in the following manner:
"...a perpetual remembrance of [Jesus's] sacrifice in death and as a seal of all the benefits of the sacrifice for true believers. It also signifies the spiritual nourishment and growth of believers in Jesus and their additional commitment to perform all the duties they owe him. Finally it is a bond and pledge of believers' communion with Jesus and with each other as members of his mystical body."
In this meal, followers of Jesus are sealed in the benefits of grace given us through our crucified and resurrected Savior. In addition, we are spiritually fed and nourished.
Presbyterians belong to the Reformed tradition. "Reformed" describes the theological beliefs of one of the strands of Protestantism birthed in the sixteenth century. Reformed churches have historically celebrated communion in three ways. Each of the three maintains the central sign that the Lord's Supper is a meal served around a table.
The first arrangement is the one we typically utilize at Covenant which originated with Ulrich Zwingli's ministry in Zurich, Switzerland in the sixteenth century. The elements of the supper are received while worshippers are seated in pews or benches. The idea was a reenactment of the Lord's Supper. However, for practical purposes the congregation was not brought forward to the table. Many English Independents (Pilgrims) adopted this practice and subsequently it became widespread in America.
The second arrangement for the Reformed celebration of the Lord's Supper involved God's people seated around a table. Developed by John à Lasco in England and John Knox in Geneva for their refugee congregations, this practice became widely used in the Netherlands and Scotland. Covenant has celebrated in this manner on our Maundy Thursday service.
The third arrangement, established in the city of Strasbourg, was followed by Reformed congregations in Switzerland, France, Germany, Hungary and for a brief period in the Church of England. After a prayer of thanksgiving, those gathered to worship would go forward to the table and stand around it to be served. This was the practice of John Calvin's church in Geneva.
During the summer, Covenant will celebrate the Supper by this third method.
Who may partake of this sacrament?
All who have been baptized and claim Jesus as Lord and Savior.