Receiving or Taking

20 Feb

This is an issue to do with the receiving of Communion, and in this case the reception of the bread.

Now one person has raised the comment that at other places and with other ministers they take the bread from the plate, rather than have it placed in their hands.

Now I have always in formal communion services received the bread from others, and also in most informal services the same has happened.

So this has got me thinking, and I’ve been working out why I see that receiving is preferred to taking the bread. And this is the conclusion that I’ve come to.

We do not gain salvation by our own efforts but through the grace of God which is freely given. However we have to respond to this gift by receiving it. As our Communion meal is one of the Means of Grace, then in part here we are not just recounting and re-enacting the Last Supper, but are also showing in action and response part of the greater narrative of salvation. So that in receiving the bread; it is a symbol of receiving the God’s grace. Something that is freely there for all, and from which no outstretched hand shall be turned away.

Any one got any thoughts on this?



Posted by on February 20, 2013 in Ministry, Spiritual Vocab


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3 responses to “Receiving or Taking

  1. Charlotte R

    February 20, 2013 at 12:29

    I went to a church last year (I believe it was a baptist church) where they had a tray on which the bread and wine were laid out, and it got passed around the congregation, every person taking from the tray and then passing it on.

    It weirded me out a bit, I don’t feel I should be ‘taking’ communion randomly from a tray (even though the shared congregational participation is a nice idea – perhaps they should *give* the communion to the next person rather than just pass the tray on and let you help yourself) – I would much prefer to ‘receive’ it – it’s like God saying ‘here you are, take this salvation which I offer’ and you then receive that which has been offered.

  2. Restless Pilgrim

    March 31, 2013 at 20:04

    I was Godfather to one of my friends who was baptized last night. I was at the rehearsal in the morning and his priest spoke briefly about how they should receive communion for the first time and he made a very similar point.

    The Body of Christ is something which we receive from God’s grace. At the beginning of the Second Century St. Ignatius of Antioch wrote to the Smyrnaeans and described the Eucharist as the “gift of God”, Gifts are humbly received. They’re not grasped at or taken 🙂

    • James PB

      April 2, 2013 at 23:08

      Restless Pilgrim, many thanks for the comment, and for something from the Church Father’s, always makes me feel better about where things sit (and that it is not a new question)


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