What Does The Holy Eucharist Mean To Christians?

What Does The Holy Eucharist Mean To Christians?

The Eucharist is a mystery beyond human comprehension and trying to define what it means may take us a life time. Read this simple explanation by Rev. Dr. Douglass M. Bailey

You are asking about one of the Church’s major sacraments, the Holy Eucharist. Just as our bodies require food and drink for physical nurture and growth, so for nurture and growth our souls need “soul” food. Sensing this deep need of the human soul, and aware of his approaching death on a cross, Jesus shared a farewell meal with his beloved companions. This meal, called the Last Supper, becomes the First Supper for the Christian Church. In this sacred meal, Jesus takes ordinary table bread and wine, gives God thanks (Eucharist is a Greek word for thanksgiving), beseeches God to bless it, and distributes it with these astounding and eternal words: “This bread is my body. This wine is my blood. Every time you eat this bread and drink this wine in my name, I will be present with you.”

And, so it is for people of faith. Ordinary bread and the wine become, by the grace of God, the body and blood of the Christ. In this timeless, eternal food, the Christ of faith is present with us. It is his spiritual “Real Presence.” How does that happen, exactly? I don’t know. It is Holy Mystery. But this I can say. For 2000 years, since that First Supper, Christ has touched and fed and revealed himself in the breaking of bread. By grace that is amazing, souls are fed and nurtured and changed by this sacrament of his Holy and Risen Presence.

A quick, closing story. Several years ago, a couple with several young children were visiting the church where I was rector and seeking to become familiar with the Eucharist. In the Liturgy of that Sunday, when it was time for the congregation to come forward to the altar rail to receive the sacrament, their five-year-old son, sitting at the edge of the aisle, stage-whispered to his parents, “Hurry Mom and Dad, lets go get some Christ!” Out of the mouths of babes.

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