Last Updated on :
Saturday, November 22, 2014


sp spacer

Contents|| Preface || 1 || 2 || 3 || 4 || 5 || 6 || 7 || 8 || 9 || 10 || Thanks || INDEX


Brethren In Christ

Piotr Morzkowski
On The Breaking of Bread


PAGE 134

Here follows the holy eucharist, which is called by many the sacrament of the body of Christ, and by others the Lord's supper. The word eucharist we see frequently used by the Greek Fathers. The Apostles were content with the simple title of "the breaking of bread" (Acts 2:42; 20:7).

The purpose of this holy rite is twofold: a primary and a secondary. The primary one is expressed by the Lord himself, when he says "Do this in remembrance of me" Luke 22:19. The secondary purpose is the profession that we have the communion of the body and blood of Christ.

We are required to eat the body of Christ and to drink his blood, that is, to meditate on the death of Christ in our minds and from within to recall it to memory, so that it is changed into spiritual blood which may bring forth spiritual life in us. No one can proclaim the death of the Lord by this rite unless simultaneously he also received the body and blood of Christ with a mind most devout and filled with gratitude. Thanks must resound and leap forth for all the benefits of God and Christ which have sprung up in us most plenteously by his death.

Those who are excommunicated are completely forbidden this holy rite until they have been received in again into the bosom of the ecclesia. The rest, who have merited no censure of the ecclesia, come to the Lord's table with the greatest devotion and

PAGE 135

contrition of heart, also with the addition of humility, to which they bear witness by their outer clothing itself, being less splendid and gay as at other public gatherings.

Before the ecclesia gathers, the table is spread with a clean cloth. Bread is placed thereon, cut conveniently so that afterwards it may be broken into very small pieces; there the cup is placed, but empty. For the wine is kept in a bottle covered with a piece of cloth made for this purpose. Then, after the members of the ecclesia have gathered, the meeting is held, the Word of God is preached, adapting the material to the time and business of the ecclesia.

He who is about to administer this holy rite exhorts the brethren that they sit at the Lord's table. After they are seated around it according to the capacity of the place, he, standing, before he takes the bread in his hands, he blesses it as briefly as possible. Then, breaking the bread, which he has taken up, he gives it to each. Then he also takes the cup and blesses it. After he has seen the last of those seated taking the cup, he sits at once and himself partakes with the greatest devotion of the holy bread and cup.

He proceeds to discourse as humbly as he can about the death of the Lord and the help flowing from it, kindling the people to devotion. He discourses either by going through the Passion, bringing out the doctrines flowing from it, or by enumerating the purposes of the death of Christ. He thus attunes his speech that he may arouse devotion, compunction of heart, and ardour, even unto prayer in the hearts of the listeners. Indeed, the entire congregation does not leave -- unless some very grave cause compel someone -- until they have all listened with the greatest silence unto the speaker, and, thereupon, being counselled, give thanks at their places unto God and Christ for his cruel death endured on behalf of our sins.

He exhorts that "this sacrifice of praise must be offered to God the Father through the hands of Christ the High Priest". At once everyone kneels. He begins to pray, giving thanks to Christ as our High Priest and King for the sacrifice of his body, offered up for our sins. He prays if anyone has come unworthily to this table that his sins may be known, he implores wisdom to understand the benefits flowing from his death, and asks finally for

PAGE 136

peace for all the ecclesias, also for the members who are specially afflicted and who await help. Finally, he concludes "To him that sitteth upon the throne and unto his lamb be honour, blessing, and glory for evermore. Amen".

After they have arisen, a hymn is sung wherein thanksgiving for the death of Christ is contained. The people are exhorted by the president for a contribution for almsgiving, and so the gathering is dissolved and the people dismissed with a blessing.189