In most churches there is the opportunity on Sundays to participate in the Eucharist, to eat  bread and to drink wine in remembrance of what Christ has done for us on the cross and to give thanks for the salvation which His death and resurrection have secured for all people throughout history,

This is the central act of worship for Christians. It anchors us firmly to Christ’s death and resurrection and reminds us of God’s miraculous work on our behalf.

To outsiders, this ritual and remembrance are anachronistic and bizarre. Christians have debated for centuries what ‘actually happens’ during this ceremony. Nonetheless, this act is a fundamental part of our worship, echoing the Jewish Passover meal but firmly rooted in both the act of remembrance and anticipation.

How can this apparently insignificant ritual be such a vital part of Christianity? What is the significance of this act?

All four gospels tell us of the Last Supper where this ritual was instituted.Paul writes about it in 1 Corinthians 11. Jesus spoke about the bread representing His body and the wine His blood, pointing to the significance of His death for our sins as the means of our reconciliation with God.

Every time we celebrate this, we focus on the means of our salvation and what Christ’s death actually achieved: the forgiveness of sins and our reconciliation to God. There is nothing more important in the world than this.

Today, if you have the opportunity to participate in ‘taking Communion’, ‘sharing in the Eucharist’ or ‘participating in Mass’, take it. Be thankful for this ceremony. Don’t take it for granted or treat it with indifference. To be reconciled to God is the most marvellous thing that can ever happen to us. What happens here is a connection ‘between an irreducible core of historical data, a faith in the presence of the living Lord and the inner responses of personal prayer’ (Eugene Peterson, ‘Five Smooth Stones for Pastoral Work’, P 63) and is a vital means of spiritual nourishment.