Sacrament of Communion at The Union Church of Hinsdale, United Church of Christ
In the United Church of Christ, we celebrate two sacraments, Baptism and Communion. “Sacraments” are special gifts from God to God’s people. They carry God’s grace in unique ways. By uniting the mystery of grace with the tangible elements of water (for Baptism), and bread and wine (for Communion), God embraces and blesses us. Sacraments also involve our response, so in receiving Baptism and Communion, we commit ourselves to living for God.
Communion (a.k.a. the Lord’s Supper, or Eucharist) is a celebration of the death and resurrection of Christ, originating in the last meal Jesus shared with his disciples prior to his death. Jesus said that the bread and wine of Communion are for us, through the Holy Spirit, his body and blood, meaning that his whole being is with us as we receive these gifts together. Through Communion we receive anew the gifts of grace, forgiveness and new life given by God through Jesus Christ.
We practice open communion, welcoming all to participate in this sacrament who wish to know the presence of Christ through the breaking of the bread, and to be a part of the fellowship of faith. The invitation and the call to the supper emphasize that all people of faith (no matter what your church background is) are welcome at this table where Christ is the host.
Children and youth are welcome to participate, as each family decides. Through occasional special classes, and in our ongoing programs, we help children grow in their appreciation of Communion as they grow older. None of us fully “understand” the mystery of God’s grace and forgiveness, but we can all continue to grow, with “faith seeking understanding.” We affirm that this meal is God’s blessing for us all.
The visible breaking of the bread and pouring of the cup are symbolic actions that remind us that Jesus is the bread of life and that we are united in the body of Christ wherever gathered. The cup poured out reminds us of the life of Christ poured out for all of us, for the forgiveness of sin, and the renewal of our lives. Communion includes a prayer of thanksgiving for all that God has done for us and an affirmation of our willingness to serve God. The movement then of this sacrament is from table fellowship to service in the world.
We celebrate Communion every Sunday at the 9:00 a.m. service and on the first Sunday of each month at the 10:45 service.