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History of Communion, Holy Communion and First Holy Communion
Holy Communion is at once a sharing with the risen Lord and a sharing with the human community in which he dwells.
By: Sarah Porter, http://www.birth-cards.com
The origin of communion meal recalls the table fellowship Jesus shared with his disciples, and in particular, the Last Supper on the night before his death as well as his appearances to the disciples during meals following his resurrection, http://www.announcements-
In the sacrament of Holy Communion, also called the Lord's Supper or Eucharist, meaning "thanksgiving,"
* A joyous act of thanksgiving for all God has done, is doing, and will do for the redeeming of creation;
* A sacred memorial of the crucified and risen Christ, a living and effective sign of Christ's sacrifice in which Christ is truly and rightly present to those who eat and drink;
* An earnest prayer for the presence of the Holy Spirit to unite those who partake with the Risen Christ and with each other, and to restore creation, making all things new;
* An intimate experience of fellowship in which the whole church in every time and place is present and divisions are overcome and
* A hopeful sign of the promised Realm of God marked by justice, love and peace.
The broken bread and poured wine represent the crucified and risen Christ. The wheat gathered to bake one loaf and the grapes pressed to make one cup remind participants that they are one body in Christ, while the breaking and pouring announce the costliness of Christ's sacrifice for the forgiveness of sin. Some churches provide non-alcoholic and gluten-free elements. As we grow increasingly aware of the rich cultural diversity of the church, the use of elements other than bread and wine is becoming an issue for global ecumenical reflection.
The Book of Worship and The New Century Hymnal contain several liturgies for the celebration of Holy Communion. In addition, many liturgies from ecumenical and global sources are frequently used. At the heart of the service are Jesus' words about the bread and the cup from the Biblical account of the Last Supper.
A variety of practices are found in the United Church of Christ, including the sharing of a common loaf or the use of individual wafers or cubes of bread and the sharing of a common cup or of individual cups either at the Table or in the pews. Intinction (dipping the bread in the wine) is also an acceptable practice. Care should be taken to ensure that the full meaning of the sacrament is communicated by the way the elements are used and served. The pastor presides at the Table, normally assisted by elders or deacons.
In many Christian churches baptized children and even infants are able to receive communion. In the early church Communion was served weekly, a practice continued and encouraged by the Protestant Reformers. Gradually the frequency of communion decreased in many Protestant churches. This trend is now being reversed. While no one pattern prevails, many congregations are moving toward monthly or weekly communion.
During the last century the Catholic Church has admitted children to First Communion between the ages of seven and eight. The First Communion precedes the Confirmation during the early teens. It is the Catholic parish priest who has the responsibility of seeing that the baptized children of the parish are properly prepared to make their First Communion. But the parish priest does not make the decision when the child is psychologically ready for First Communion. Only the parents really know this, and they have the final decision as to when their child has his First Communion.
Holy Communion is at once a sharing with the risen Lord and a sharing with the human community in which he dwells. So for children as well as for parents any real sharing in and with the Christian community will press for sharing in the Eucharist, both to celebrate the bond of unity that is already there and to deepen it.
There are a few websites that offer personalized Holy Communion Invitations where you can add your own text, typestyle, ink color and then preview before you buy, like http://www.announcements-
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