n 1: a Christian sacrament commemorating the Last Supper by
consecrating bread and wine [syn: Holy Eucharist, Eucharist,
sacrament of the Eucharist, Holy Sacrament, Liturgy,
2: the traditional Passover supper of Jesus with his disciples
on the eve of his crucifixion [syn: Last Supper]
(1 Cor. 11:20), called also "the Lord's table" (10:21),
"communion," "cup of blessing" (10:16), and "breaking of bread"
In the early Church it was called also "eucharist," or giving
of thanks (comp. Matt. 26:27), and generally by the Latin Church
"mass," a name derived from the formula of dismission, Ite,
missa est, i.e., "Go, it is discharged."
The account of the institution of this ordinance is given in
Matt. 26:26-29, Mark 14:22-25, Luke 22:19, 20, and 1 Cor.
11:24-26. It is not mentioned by John.
It was designed, (1.) To commemorate the death of Christ:
"This do in remembrance of me." (2.) To signify, seal, and apply
to believers all the benefits of the new covenant. In this
ordinance Christ ratifies his promises to his people, and they
on their part solemnly consecrate themselves to him and to his
entire service. (3.) To be a badge of the Christian profession.
(4.) To indicate and to promote the communion of believers with
Christ. (5.) To represent the mutual communion of believers with
The elements used to represent Christ's body and blood are
bread and wine. The kind of bread, whether leavened or
unleavened, is not specified. Christ used unleavened bread
simply because it was at that moment on the paschal table. Wine,
and no other liquid, is to be used (Matt. 26:26-29). Believers
"feed" on Christ's body and blood, (1) not with the mouth in any
manner, but (2) by the soul alone, and (3) by faith, which is
the mouth or hand of the soul. This they do (4) by the power of
the Holy Ghost. This "feeding" on Christ, however, takes place
not in the Lord's Supper alone, but whenever faith in him is
This is a permanent ordinance in the Church of Christ, and is
to be observed "till he come" again.