of Faith in a Mennonite Perspective, 1995
Article 12. The Lord's Supper
We believe that the
Lord's Supper is a sign by which the church thankfully remembers the
new covenant which Jesus established by his death. In this communion
meal, the members of the church renew our covenant with God and with
each other. As one body, we participate in the life of Jesus Christ
given for the redemption of humankind. Thus we proclaim the Lord's
death until he comes. 
The Lord's Supper points
to Jesus Christ, whose body was given for us and whose shed blood
established the new covenant. [2} In
sharing the bread and cup, each believer remembers the death of Jesus
and God's act of deliverance in raising Jesus from the dead. As we
relive this event with a common meal, we give thanks for all God's acts
of deliverance in the past and present, for the forgiveness of sins,
and for God's continuing grace in our lives.
The supper re-presents
the presence of the risen Christ in the church. As we partake of the
communion of the bread and cup, the gathered body of believers shares
in the body and blood of Christ 3 and recognizes again that its life is
sustained by Christ, the bread of life.
Remembering how Jesus
laid down his life for his friends, we his followers recommit ourselves
to the way of the cross. Confessing our sins to one another and
receiving forgiveness, we are to come as one body to the table of the
Lord. There we renew our baptismal covenant with God and with each
other and recognize our unity with all believers everywhere in all
All are invited to the
Lord's table who have been baptized into the community of faith, are
living at peace with God and with their brothers and sisters in the
faith, and are willing to be accountable in their congregation.
Celebrating the Lord's
Supper in this manner, the church looks forward in joy and hope to the
feast of the redeemed with Christ in the age to come. 
(1) 1 Cor. 11:26.
(2) Jer. 31:31-34; 1 Cor. 11:24-25.
(3) 1 Cor. 10:16.
(4) Luke 22:15-20, 28-30.
1. On the night that he was betrayed, Jesus and his disciples gathered
to eat the Passover meal. This annual celebration called to remembrance
God's great act of delivering the people of Israel from slavery in
Egypt (Exod. 12). Jesus' Last Supper signaled that he was leading his
followers in a new exodus out of bondage and into salvation. Through
Jesus' death and resurrection, God has rescued believers from sin and
evil and brought them into a new covenant. The new people of God
created through this covenant is continuous with the people of the old
covenant, whom God rescued from bondage in Egypt. The people of the new
covenant includes all who have confessed Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior
2. The bread of the
Lord's Supper is a sign of Christ's body, and the cup is a sign of the
new covenant in his blood (Luke 22:19-20). As Christians eat the bread
and drink the cup, they experience Christ's presence in their midst.
The Lord's Supper both represents Christ and is a way in which Christ
is present again ("re-present") in the body of believers. In this meal,
the church renews its covenant to be the body of Christ in the world
and to live the life of Christ on behalf of others.
The communion meal is a
sign of the unity of believers with one another as the church (1 Cor.
10:17). As branches are part of the vine, so believers are to be united
with each other in Christ. Believers are to come to the Lord's table in
a worthy manner, without factions among them (1 Cor. 11:17-22, 27-34).
Churches are encouraged to find ways to promote reconciliation and to
prepare members for communion. The believers' covenant with one another
includes the pledge of love for brothers and sisters, of mutual
accountability, of confession and forgiveness of sins, and of the
sharing of material and spiritual resources as there is need. Such love
and sharing reaches around the world as the church recognizes its
This joyful, yet solemn
fellowship in the Lord's Supper is a foretaste of the fuller joy to
come when all believers will feast with Christ in the reign of God
(Rev. 19:9; compare Isa. 25:6-8).
3. Like baptism, the
Lord's Supper is a sign, representing both God's action and covenant
faithfulness in delivering us from sin and death, and representing the
action of those who recommit to faithfulness in covenant with God.
Because the church's response to God's salvation through Jesus includes
thankfulness, the Lord's Supper has sometimes been called "eucharist,"
which means "thanksgiving." And because the Lord's Supper represents an
event in which Jesus invited the community of his disciples to share
the cup and the bread in fellowship with him and with each other around
the same table, it is sometimes called "communion."
4. The practice of the
early church was to celebrate the Lord's Supper frequently, every
Lord's day or even daily (Acts 2:46). The Anabaptists in the sixteenth
century also shared the Lord's Supper often as a sign of their renewed
covenant with God and each other. Our churches are encouraged to
celebrate the Lord's Supper frequently, so that they may participate in
the rich meanings of this event for the worship and life of the church.
the delegates of Mennonite Church General Assembly, and of the General
Conference Mennonite Church Tricentennial Session, July 28, 1995,
Wichita, Kansas. Copyright © 1995 by Herald Press Scottdale PA
15683. Used by permission. Order print copies of Confession of
Faith in a Mennonite Perspective, and Summary Statement,
Confession of Faith in a Mennonite Perspective, From Herald Press, Scottdale,
Pa. Worship resources
based on this confession, and translations
are also available.
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