On the night before He was crucified, Jesus and His disciples shared a very special meal together. Jesus used this opportunity to teach His followers important lessons and also gave certain symbols to help them remember. We believe He gave these symbols for us to use and benefit from also.
During our communion services, we re-enact Christ’s example of feet washing. (John 13: 1-17) It reminds us of our need for daily cleansing of sin, and that we should humbly serve and seek the best for each other. Jesus wants us to remember that even though believers have been forgiven for all sin – past, present and future – we must appropriate His cleansing power and forgiveness on a daily basis. There is a cleansing of feet and there is a bath. The disciples had a bath, but needed their feet washed. “Saved” they were, to use our terminology, but not clean from the contamination of daily sin. Feet washing is a symbol of love. It’s a statement that the people of a church make together, as they have communion, that Jesus is the one who does the real cleansing on the inside. He does that constantly, as we appropriate His forgiveness.
Next we enjoy a simple meal called the love feast, a wonderful time of fellowship and encouragement. This meal also reminds us that we are part of God’s family, and that some day we will join Jesus in the ultimate love feast. (Revelation 19:6-9)
At the conclusion of the love feast, we also remember the great price that Jesus paid for our sin through His death on the cross. We do this by using the bread and cup. The bread is broken as a symbol that we share in His death as He offered Himself in our place. The cup represents His blood that was shed, establishing the New Covenant of relationship now available between God and man. (1 Corinthians 11:23-32)
The communion service that includes these three elements is called three-fold communion. Here at Grace we practice an open communion, as we invite all believers to take part. You do not need to be an official member of Grace Church. We also welcome people who would like to observe the symbolism without participating.