“I am the bread of life.”
John 6:35 (NRSV)
The Lord’s Supper is the sign and seal of eating and drinking in communion with the crucified and risen Lord. In this act, we remember that during his earthly ministry, Jesus shared meals with his followers and sat at dinner tables as a sign of acceptance of the sinner and the outcast. In the last meal before his death, Jesus took and shared with his disciples bread and wine, speaking of these elements as his body and blood, symbols of the new relationship with God brought about by his impending death. On the day of his resurrection, the risen Jesus made himself known to his followers in the breaking of bread.
In the act of remembering that is the Lord’s Supper, we receive and trust the love of Christ present to us and to the world. Through it, we are renewed and empowered to be the church, the body of Christ, in the world.
The invitation to the Lord’s Supper is not just for Presbyterians or “members of the church.” All who confess Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord are invited to partake of the Lord’s Supper. Access to the Table is not a right conferred upon the worthy but a privilege given to the undeserving who come in faith, repentance, and love. Even one who doubts or whose trust is wavering may receive the bread and grape juice (in place of wine) in order to be assured of God's love and grace in Jesus Christ.
Fourth Presbyterian Church celebrates the Sacrament of the Lord’s Supper every Sunday at 8:00 a.m. and 4:00 p.m. worship.
During the 8:00 and 4:00 services, all (including children) are invited to the Lord’s Table to receive Communion, which is served by intinction. Congregants proceed via the center aisle to receive the bread (gluten-free bread is available in the paper “cup” within the basket of bread), which they then dip into the chalice of nonalchoholic grape juice. Worshipers return to their pews by the side aisles.
In addition, communion is celebrated at the 9:30 and 11:00 services on the first Sunday of even-numbered months.
During the 9:30 and 11:00 services, the congregation is served in the pews by elders and deacons in an act symbolizing their role as servant leaders in the church. The congregation also takes on the role of serving: worshipers take the bread and grape juice from the plate held by their neighbor and then they take the plate and serve the neighbor on their other side. Empty glasses are placed in the ringed holes in the pew racks.
Portions of the text above are adapted from The Book of Order.