The Order for the Sacrament of the Lord’s Supper

The Constitution of the Reformed Church in America (Article 9, Section 5) states that “the order for the administration of the Sacrament of the Lord’s Supper must be read.” The congregation may use this revised Order or another Order approved as the Liturgy of the RCA.

In this revision, the Order of Worship will be followed through the Offering and Doxology. If the Exhortation from the Preparatory Service has not been read, it should be used before the Prayer of Confession. After the Offering, the service proceeds as follows. The minister may read the Meaning of the Sacrament as given under I or II.

Meaning of the Sacrament

I

Beloved in the Lord, as we come to the holy Supper of our Lord and Savior, it is fitting that we consider to what end our Lord has instituted it.

“This do,” he said, “in remembrance of me.”

We are, therefore, to remember that our Lord Jesus Christ, according to the promises made in the Old Testament, was sent of the Father into the world; that he assumed our flesh and blood; that he bore for us the wrath of God, under which we should have perished everlastingly; that he fulfilled for us all obedience to the divine law; that he, although innocent, was condemned to death so that we might be acquitted at the judgment seat of God; that he took upon himself the curse due to us so that he might fill us with his blessings; that he humbled himself unto death, even the bitter and shameful death of the cross, when he cried out with a loud voice, “My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?” so that we might be accepted of God and never be forsaken of him; and finally, that he confirmed with the shedding of his blood the new and eternal covenant of grace and reconciliation, when he said, “It is finished.”

“This is my body, broken for you,” he said, “This cup is the new testament in my blood.”

We are, therefore, to believe these promises which Jesus Christ, who is the truth, has himself given us. It is his will that we be partakers of his body and blood and share in all his benefits, so that he may dwell in us and we in him. We may not doubt that he will perform in our hearts and lives all that these outward signs signify and that he who is the true heavenly bread will nourish and strengthen us to life eternal. For in this Supper we share in the infinite goodness of our Savior and are made partakers of all his blessings, of life eternal, righteousness, and glory.

But in this Supper of remembrance and communion we must also lift up our hearts in hope. For we do this, as he commanded, till he come. As we eat this break and drink this cup, he gives us a pledge and foretaste of that feast of love of which we shall partake when his kingdom has fully come. Under the veil of earthly things we now have communion with him. But with unveiled face we shall behold him, rejoicing in his glory, made like unto him in his glory. Even so, come, Lord Jesus.

And as by his death, resurrection, and ascension he has obtained for us the life-giving Spirit who, dwelling in him as the Head and in us as his members, unites us all in one body, so are we to receive this Supper in brotherly love, mindful of the communion of saints. As the holy Apostle says, “We being many are one body, for we are all partakers of that one bread.” Hereto assist us the almighty God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, through his Holy Spirit. Amen.

Or

II

Beloved in the Lord Jesus Christ, the holy Supper which we are about to celebrate is a feast of remembrance, of communion, and of hope.

We come in remembrance that our Lord Jesus Christ was sent of the Father into the world to assume our flesh and blood and to fulfill for us all obedience to the divine law, even to the bitter and shameful death of the cross. By his death, resurrection, and ascension he established a new and eternal covenant of grace and reconciliation that we might be accepted of God and never be forsaken by him.

We come to have communion with this same Christ who has promised to be with us always, even to the end of the world. In the breaking of the bread he makes himself known to us as the true heavenly Bread that strengthens us unto life eternal. In the cup of blessing he comes to us as the Vine in whom we must abide if we are to bear fruit.

We come in hope, believing that this bread and this cup are a pledge and foretaste of the feast of love of which we shall partake when his kingdom has fully come, when with unveiled face we shall behold him, made like unto him in this glory.

Since by his death, resurrection, and ascension he has obtained for us the life-giving Spirit who unites us all in one body, so are we to receive this Supper in true brotherly love, mindful of the communion of saints.

Invitation

The minister, in the name of Christ, shall extend an invitation to all present concerning participation in the Sacrament.

All baptized Christians present who are admitted to the Lord’s Supper are to be invited to participate.

Communion Prayer

Having taken his place at the Lord’s Table, the minister shall say:

The Lord be with you.
And also with you.
Lift up your hearts!
We lift them up to the Lord.
Let us give thanks to the Lord our God.
It is right to give our thanks and praise.

Holy and right it is and our joyful duty to give thanks to you at all times and in all places, OLord, our Creator, almighty and everlasting God! You created the heaven with all its hosts and the earth with all its plenty. You have given us life and being, and preserve us by your providence. But you have shown us the fullness of your love in sending into the world your Son, Jesus Christ, the eternal Word, made flesh for us men and for our salvation. For the precious gift of this mighty Savior who has reconciled us to you we praise and bless you, O God.

With your whole Church on earth and with all the company of heaven we worship and adore your glorious name.

Here may be said or sung:

Holy, holy, holy, Lord God of hosts. Heaven and earth are full of your glory. Hosanna in the highest!

Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord. Hosanna in the highest!

A short period of silence.

Most righteous God, we remember in this Supper the perfect sacrifice offered once on the cross by our Lord Jesus Christ for the sin of the world.

In the joy of his resurrection and in expectation of his coming again, we offer ourselves to you as holy and living sacrifices.

Together we proclaim the mystery of the faith:

Here all shall say or sing:

Christ has died!
Christ has risen!
Christ will come again!

Send your Holy Spirit upon us, we pray, that the bread which we break may be to us the communion of the body and blood of Christ. Grant that, being joined together in him, we may attain to the unity of the faith and grow up in all things into him Christ our Lord.

And as this grain has been gathered from many fields into one loaf and these grapes from many hills into one cup, grant, OLord, that thy whole Church may soon be gathered from the ends of the earth into thy kingdom. Even so, come, Lord Jesus.

If no confession of faith has been made previously in the Order, it shall be made here.

Communion

The minister shall declare the Words of Institution.

The Lord Jesus, the same night he was betrayed, took bread; and when he had given thanks, he broke it

The minister shall break the bread

and gave it to them, saying,

“Take, eat; this is my body which is given for you: do this in remembrance of me.”

Lifting the cup, the minister shall say:

After the same manner also, he took the cup when they had supped, saying, “this cup is the new testament in my blood: this do, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of me.”

In partaking of the bread it shall be said:

The bread which we break is the communion of the body of Christ.

In partaking of the cup it shall be said:

The cup of blessing which we bless is the communion of the blood of Christ.

Communion Thanksgiving

Brothers and sisters, since the Lord has now fed us at his Table, let us praise God’s holy name with heartfelt thanksgiving! Bless the Lord, O my soul,
and all that is within me, bless his holy name.
Bless the Lord, O my soul,
and do not forget all his benefits
who forgives all your iniquity,
who heals all your diseases,
who redeems your life from the Pit,
who crowns you with steadfast love and mercy.
The Lord is merciful and gracious,
slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love.
He does not deal with us according to our sins,
nor repay us according to our iniquities.
For as the heavens are high above the earth,
so great is his steadfast love toward those who fear him;
as far as the east is from the west,
so far does he remove our transgressions from us.
As a father has compassion for his children,
so the Lord has compassion for those who fear him,
who did not spare his own Son,
but gave him up for us all,
and will also give us all things with him.
Therefore shall my mouth and heart show forth the praise of the Lord, from this time forth forevermore. Amen

From Psalm 103, with additions

Intercession

The following prayers may be used. Intercessions may be selected from other sources or may be in the minister’s own words. The intercessions shall conclude with the Lord’s Prayer.

Let us pray.

We praise and thank you, O Lord, that you have fed us at your Table. Grateful for your gifts and mindful of the communion of your saints, we offer to you our prayers for all people.

God of compassion, we remember before you the poor and the afflicted, the sick and the dying, prisoners and all who are lonely, the victims of war, injustice, and inhumanity, and all others who suffer from whatever their sufferings may be called.

Silence.

O Lord of Providence, who holds the destiny of the nations in your hand, we pray for our country. Inspire the hearts and minds of our leaders that they, together with all our nation, may first seek your kingdom and righteousness so that order, liberty, and peace may dwell with your people.

Silence.

O God the Creator, we pray for all nations and peoples. Take away the mistrust and lack of understanding that divide your creatures; increase in us the recognition that we are all your children.

Silence.

O Savior God, look upon your church in its struggle upon the earth. Have mercy on its weakness, bring to an end its unhappy divisions, and scatter its fears. Look also upon the ministry of your church. Increase its courage, strengthen its faith, and inspire its witness to all people, even to the ends of the earth.

Silence.

Author of grace and God of love, send your Holy Spirit’s blessing to your children here present. Keep our hearts and thoughts in Jesus Christ, your Son, our only Savior, who has taught us to pray:

Our Father in heaven,
hallowed be your name,
your kingdom come,
your will be done,
on earth as it is in heaven.
Give us today our daily bread.
Forgive us our sins
as we forgive those who sin against us.
Save us from the time of trial,
and deliver us from evil.
For the kingdom, the power,
and the glory are yours,
now and forever. Amen.

Hymn

Benediction

Facing the congregation, the minister shall give the blessing:

The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ and the love of God and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all.

Amen!

Worship the Lord

The Liturgy of the Reformed Church in America

A treasury of prayers and primary resource for planning and leading worship in RCA congregations.