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“Receiving the Body and Blood of Jesus”

The Supper of the Lord is not only a sign of the love that Christians ought to have among themselves one to another; but rather is a Sacrament of our Redemption by Christ’s death: insomuch that to such as rightly, worthily, and with faith, receive the same, the Bread which we break is a partaking of the Body of Christ; and likewise the Cup of Blessing is a partaking of the Blood of Christ.

The above quote is from Article XXVIII of the “Thirty-Nine Articles of Religion,” written in 1571 to express “fundamental principles of authentic Anglican belief” (p. 767, BCP 2019). The celebration of Eucharist is one of the two foundations of our weekly services, the other being the reading and preaching of the Word. Every week we have the grace-filled opportunity to receive the presence of Jesus when we come forward and kneel with our outstretched hands to receive the Bread and the Wine, the Body and Blood of Christ.

Beginning the first Sunday of July, we are returning to the practice of inviting you to be the one to intinct (dip) the Bread in the Wine as you participate in Holy Communion. (We still are not sipping from the chalice.) You will come forward to the altar rail as usual, extending your arms with your right hand open to receive the wafer. Pastor Sallie or I will offer you the Bread, saying, “The Body of Christ, the Bread of Heaven.” Hold the Bread between your fingers until the Lay Eucharistic Minister comes to you with the chalice and speaks the words, “The Blood of Christ, the Cup of Salvation.” As the Lay Eucharistic Minister tilts the chalice toward you, intinct (dip) the Bread into the Wine without your fingers touching the Wine, then place the Body and Blood of Jesus in your mouth.

“Place the Body and Blood of Jesus in your mouth” – it is strange and powerful to write those words! And yet this is the reality of Sacrament: “an outward and visible sign of an inward and spiritual grace. God gives us the sign as a means by which we receive that grace and as a tangible assurance that we do in fact receive it” (To Be a Christian: An Anglican Catechism, p.55). This understanding flows from the words of Jesus spoken as he shared the Last Supper with his disciples, and from his own teaching (Luke 22:14-20; John 6:25-51; 1 Corinthians 10:16-17; 11:23-26). This is why we receive “in faith with thanksgiving,” gratefully trusting in that moment in the presence of Jesus and the forgiving, reconciling work he has accomplished on the cross, drawing us into koinonia with God and each other.

If you prefer not to intinct the Bread, simply place the wafer in your mouth immediately after receiving it and bow your head, confident you still receive the fullness of the grace offered to you by God in Christ. The Lay Eucharistic Minister will move on to the next person.

Again, we will begin anew this practice starting the first Sunday in July. If you have any questions, please let me know.

Your Pastor in Christ,


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