Communion at Home1
We have said for a long time that communion is the pinnacle of our gatherings together. We remember Christ’s death and resurrection and remember his promises, including his return. We participate in God's hospitality, inviting the needy and broken to eat with him.
While there is plenty of theological diversity around communion itself, we at Doxa believe every follower of Jesus is given a priestly role in God’s Kingdom (1 Peter 2:5-9). Nothing about offering communion as a pastor makes it more holy or significant. The significance of communion comes from the spiritual gathering.
Being together in one space is what we think of when we picture "the gathering", and for most of us all we have ever known. Corporate worship and the Lord's supper are obviously at their best when we are physically together, but scripture acknoweldges that in times when physical presence isn't possible, "togetherness" that can still happen (Paul doing spiritual discipline remotely in 1 Cor 5, and a pastor's heart for those he can't see in Colossians).
A church gathering like what we have known, at least in terms of scale, is not happenining anytime soon. For the forseeable future, as we are unable to all gather together for worship, we encourage you to continue to celebrate communion in your homes with your family. It is actually because of our high esteem of the ordinance that we ask this. Our family of churches often say that meals matter, and this meal is the one that matters most. With that in mind, consider the following for making the most of communion at home:
1. While symbolic*, it's important to pick elements that honor the sacrament. Sometimes this is not possible but please do your best. Generally, bread without yeast (which represents sin) is advised. Grape juice or wine is used to represent the blood of Christ, whatever your conscience allows.
2. To remain vigilant on the viral front, whoever prepares the elements should wash their hand thoroughly, pre-separate the pieces of bread, and avoid sharing a cup.
3. Scripturally, we are commanded to examine our hearts (1 Corinthians 11) before participating, and the liturgy below will help towards that end.
DIGITAL COMMUNION LITURGY
Confession of Sin
ALL: "Most merciful God, we confess that we have sinned against You in thought, word, and deed, by what we have done, and by what we have left undone. We have not loved You with our whole heart. We have not loved our neighbors as ourselves. We are truly sorry and we humbly repent. For the sake of Your Son Jesus Christ, have mercy on us and forgive us; that we may delight in Your will, and walk in Your ways, to the glory of Your Name. Amen."
LEADER: "Take a moment to recount the ways you personally have fallen short of God's ways and wisdom this week."
Assurance of Forgiveness
All read aloud:
"The LORD is compassionate and gracious, slow to anger, abounding in love. He will not always accuse, nor will he harbor his anger forever; he does not treat us as our sins deserve or repay us according to our iniquities. For as high as the heavens are above the earth, so great is his love for those who fear him; as far as the east is from the west, so far has he removed our transgressions from us."
LEADER: The Lord is here.
ALL: His Spirit is with us.
LEADER: Lift up your hearts.
ALL: We lift them to the Lord.
LEADER: Let us give thanks to the Lord our God.
ALL: It is right to give Him thanks and praise
Words of Institution
LEADER: [Hold up your bread plate] On the night he was handed over to suffering and death, our Lord Jesus Christ took bread; and when he blessed it, he broke it, and gave it to his disciples, and said, “Take, eat: This is my body, which is given for you. Do this for the remembrance of me.”
[Hold up your cup] After supper he took the cup of wine; and when he had given thanks, he gave it to them, and said, “Drink this, all of you: This is my blood of the new covenant, which is shed for you and for many for the forgiveness of sins. Whenever you drink it, do this for the remembrance of me.”
Mystery of Faith
LEADER: Let’s proclaim together the mystery of our faith.
ALL: Christ Has Died. Christ Is Risen. Christ Will Come Again.
Invitation of the Spirit
LEADER: Pour out your Holy Spirit on us gathered here and on these gifts of bread and wine. May they be for us the body and blood of Christ so that we may be for the world the body of Christ, redeemed by his blood. By your Spirit make us one with Christ, one with each other, and one in ministry to all the world, until Christ comes in final victory and we feast at his heavenly banquet. Through your Son Jesus Christ, with the Holy Spirit in your holy Church, all honor and glory is yours, almighty Father, now and forever. Amen.
Invitation of the People
LEADER: These are the gifts of God, given for the people of God. Receive them in remembrance that Christ died for you, and feed on him in your hearts by faith, with thanksgiving.
Ask everyone who has come to faith in Christ to partake in the elements.
*Symbolic: Christians land in different places on the spiritual significance of communion; most commonly symbolism, consubstantiation, and transubstantiation. The differences and details of that conversation far exceed the purposes of this post, but are worthy of your consideration.
Liturgy words adapted from the Book of Common Prayer and a blog post from this guy.