"This is the body of Christ. This is the blood of Christ."
It's Communion Sunday. The service is a little longer, and the sacrament is observed with gravity. You know it's important, but the wonder is lost. What does it all mean, really?
According to the results of a survey, you're not alone. United Methodists have a strong sense of the importance of Holy Communion, but they also lack a meaningful understanding of the theology behind it. Reclaim a richer sacramental life in your congregation through a group study of This Holy Mystery.
In 2004, the General Conference of The United Methodist Church adopted an official interpretative document on Holy Communion. For the first time in our history, the denomination has an official, comprehensive statement of the practice and theology of the Lord's Supper. Now, it's time for congregations to help members understand the observance.
"We believe that study of this document will yield increased appreciation for the sacrament in the worship experience and enable United Methodist people to draw nourishment and strength for their ongoing journeys of faith," writes Felton.
This Holy Mystery: A United Methodist Understanding of Holy Communion is a study guide of the General Conference-approved document. An all-in-one resource, this book is for both participants and leaders. It's divided into 7 sessions, providing commentary on the history, practice, and principles of Holy Communion in United Methodist congregations. It also points to implications of the sacrament for ministry and mission.
We come to the Table of the Lord, seeking to have our spiritual needs met. The benefits include forgiveness, nourishment, healing, transformation, ministry and mission, and eternal life. Renew your appreciation for the divine grace made available through this sacrament.
A clergy member of the North Carolina Annual Conference, the Rev. Gayle Carlton Felton is a consultant to the United Methodist General Board of Discipleship, Chair of The Board of Directors of The Reconciling Congregation Program, and author of The Coming of Jesus, This Gift of Water, and By Water and the Spirit. Retired from the faculty of Duke Divinity School, she is now living in Rougemont, North Carolina, where she is a writer, consultant, and speaker.