The Eucharist is a sacred meal, in which the bread and wine are truly Christ's body and blood. When we celebrate the Eucharist, we recall the sacrifice of Jesus on the cross, when he suffered for our sakes.
The night before he died Jesus had supper with his friends. He blessed bread and wine, and commanded them to share them in remembrance of him.
Everyone who receives Holy Communion receives forgiveness. Trusting in Christ as we receive bread and wine, this sacred meal binds us to Christ and love of our neighbour.
Through the Eucharist and the life of faith God assures us that Christ's body is the bread of life and his blood the source of eternal life.
Along with Baptism, the Eucharist is one of two sacraments accepted by Lutherans. The Eucharist fortifies both the spiritual life initiated in Baptism, and the promise of eternity. It is a meal of reconciliation, joy and thanksgiving.
”The cup of blessing that we bless, is it not a sharing in the blood of Christ? The bread that we break, is it not a sharing in the body of Christ? Because there is one bread, we who are many are one body, for we all partake of the one bread.” (1 Cor. 10.16-17)
How often is the Eucharist celebrated?
It may be celebrated every day. In most Finnish parishes, it is the main service every Sunday.
Who celebrates the Eucharist?
Everyone – even and especially those in the pews; but in the Lutheran Church only an ordained pastor (priest) may be the officiant (president). Bread and wine are placed on the altar, and the officiant says the prayer of consecration. Deacons and licensed lay people assist at the administration of Holy Communion.
Who may receive Holy Communion?
All baptized and confirmed Lutherans. Members of the Anglican Churches of the Porvoo Communion and the Church of Scotland may also receive. Children who are baptized but not confirmed may receive if accompanied by a parent or godparent. Baptized Christians of other denominations may receive in cases of illness or emergency. This last rule may be subject to local interpretation. It is the practice of the church that no one presenting themselves at the altar should be refused.
May I receive gluten free bread or non-alcoholic wine?
Both are generally available: ask at the church before the service where they are administered.
What do I do if I don't wish to receive Holy Communion?
Simply place your right hand on your left shoulder in order to receive a blessing.
You can get further information from your local parish.