Symbolic ceremony performed by all Christians.
Although ways of going about recieving the Lord's Supper vary throughout denomintations, all sects eat bread and drink wine (or grapejuice, whatever) as a symbolic gesture of Jesus' bloodshed.

The first Lord's Supper (The Last Supper) look place in The Garden of Gethsemane with Jesus and his 12 Apostles. To preserve his memory, Christ instructed his followers to do the same until he came again.

Also called the Eucharist.

For I have received of the Lord that which also I delivered unto you, That the Lord Jesus the same night in which he was betrayed took bread:
And when he had given thanks, he brake it, and said, Take, eat: this is my body, which is broken for you: this do in remembrance of me.
After the same manner also he took the cup, when he had supped, saying, This cup is the new testament in my blood: this do ye, as oft as ye drink it, in remembrance of me.
For as often as ye eat this bread, and drink this cup, ye do shew the Lord's death till he come.
(1 Cor. 11:23-26)

Holy Communion also known as the sacrament of the Eucharist, is one of the seven sacraments.

For Roman Catholics, it is the most important sacrament. "The Eucharist is 'the source and summit of the Christian life.' 'The other sacraments, and indeed all ecclesiastical ministries and works of the apostolate, are bound up with the Eucharist and are oriented toward it. For in the blessed Eucharist is contained the whole spiritual good of the Church, namely Christ himself, our Pasch.'" (Catechism of the Catholic Church)

Celebration of the holy communion is the reason for (in fact, it is synonymous with) the mass. For Catholics, the bread and wine offered by the priest is not merely symbolic of the body and blood of Jesus Christ, but through the miracle of transsubstantiation, are transformed into the actual body and blood of Christ.

Cast (in credits order, courtesy of the imdb):
Christopher Walken .... Whitley Strieber
Lindsay Crouse .... Anne Strieber
Frances Sternhagen .... Dr. Janet Duffy
Andreas Katsulas .... Alex
Terri Hanauer .... Sarah
Joel Carlson .... Andrew Strieber
John Dennis Johnston .... Fireman
Dee Dee Rescher .... Mrs. Greenberg
Aileen Fitzpatrick .... Mother
R.J. Miller .... Father
Holly Fields .... Praying Mantis Girl
Paula Shaw (II) .... Woman from Apartment
Juliet Sorcey .... Second Grade Girl
Tifni Twitchell .... Teacher
Joshua John Miller .... Tall Boy
Kate Stern .... Woman on Bus
Johnny Dark .... Lab Technician
Jonathan Fromdahl .... Whitley (5 years)
Andrew Magarian .... Man in Hallway
Basil Hoffman .... Dr. Friedman
Paul Clemens .... Patrick
Maggie Egan .... Nancy
Irene Forrest .... Sally
Sally Kemp .... Laurie
Vince McKewin .... Bob

Whitley: You've broken my mind.

Filmed in 1989, Communion was a psychological thriller based on the book of the same name. Written by Whitley Strieber and based on occurences of the supernatural sort that Mr. Striber to this day believes to be real. (More information on Strieber can be found at http://www.unknowncountry.com.)

Synopsis: Strieber's family and some friends go on vacation in a cabin in upstate New York. After a series of strange events with dream-like quality, Strieber begins to question his sanity and wonders if he has been abducted by aliens. He sees a psychiatrist and participates in regression therapy to try and discover the truth.

For me, personally, this film was incredibly creepy and definitely one of Walken's best roles. I watched it in the fall of 1992, I was all of 16 at the time, and I swear to God I did not sleep well again until the age of 21. The abduction scenes were marvelously filmed and left you feeling that shivery feeling up the back of your spine. The dialogue between Walken's character and his abductors is sometimes brilliant, sometimes funny. You really get to feeling sorry for this guy. Interesting to note, the word alien isn't really ever mentioned in the movie, just implied.

This film gets two types of reaction:

1) What a piece of rubbish, a waste of film, etc.

2) Thanks a lot, bucko, now I can't sleep.

I leave it to the viewer to decide.

Communion, sometimes referred to as “Eucharist”, “Lord’s Supper”, or "the Lord’s Table”, is the ceremonial consumption of bread and wine. It is a sacrament. It defines on-going or “practicing” Christian life.

The ceremony itself may have its origins in the meetings of early Christians. Believers would gather together, sing songs, hear readings, hear a speech by the presider, pray and give thanks, share a meal, and then collect leftover food and money to be given to the poor.

As the meetings became more ritualized (for example, instead of gathering in the evening at someone’s house for dinner, the meeting occurred at a regular place and time, usually Sunday morning) the meal took on ritual qualities, as well. There was a significant body of pre-Christian myth and ritual to draw upon.

Today, the bread may be wafers, and the wine may be grape juice, but it still retains at least a symbolic connection to the sacrifice of God’s son, which the early Chistians also compared to the Jewish Temple rituals of animal sacrifice.

Mythic Background

Throughout the ancient Mediterranean region, there was the myth of the young god who is killed and then resurrected. Osiris, Tammuz, Dionysos: each is torn or cut into pieces, then reassembled by a goddesss and resurrected.

Mystery cults, such as the Greek cult of Dionysos, had ceremonies in which food or a sacrificial victim was torn to pieces and consumed by the cultists. The Roman cult of Mithras, more or less contemporaneous with the early Christian church, ate bread and wine which represented the god Mithras,thus obtaining a symbolic union with the god and with each other.

How the Sacrament was “Instituted” by Jesus in the New Testament

The “Words of Institution” as they appear in Paul’s letters (generally agreed by modern scholars to have preceded the Gospels as the first written documents of Christianity):

The Lord Jesus, on the night in which he was betrayed, took bread, and when he had given thanks, he broke it and said, “This is my body, which is for you; do this in rememberance of me.” In the same way, after supper he took the cup, saying “This cup is the new covenant in my blood; do this, whenever you drink it, in remeberance of me.” I Corinthians, 11:23-25

Similar account can be found in all the Gospels except John (see Mark 14:22-25; Matthew 26:26-28; Luke 22:14-20) one of the many reasons these three are called the “Synoptic Gospels” to distinguish them from the more mystical Gospel of John.

How Communion is performed or perceived.

Seemingly insignificant details have divided Christian sects. The Catholic and Orthodox churches once disputed whether leavened or unleavened bread was appropriate.

Catholics recognize seven (7) sacraments. Except for communion, the sacraments are generally performed once, at a significant stage on life’s way: birth, marriage, ordination, death. Communion, on the other hand, is performed regularly. It is the central feature of the Mass. Protestants recognize only two (2) sacraments: baptism and communion, but again, baptism only needs to be performed once, communion is a regular practice.

It is occaisionally deemed significant by some Protestants that in the Catholic Mass, the Words of Institution are recited by the priest over the elements, at the altar hidden in the back of the church, with the priests back to the congregation. The implication is that the priest desires to hide the miracle of the Transubstantiation, which these Protestants view as mumbo-jumbo. Some modern Protestant churches put the altar out toward the congregation, so that the pastor can get around behind it and face the congregation when reciting the Words of Institution, which is intended to signify that the Words are educational or edifying, not mumbo-jumbo. Be that as it may (and I have been to many Protestant churches where the altar is against the back wall of the nave, in the traditional Gothic cathedral manner) there are theological differences regarding the sacrament among the major Western sects:

The three major theological theories of the presence of Christ in the elements of the Eucharist are:

  • Transubstantiation: The bread and wine are transformed by the sacrament into the body and blood of Christ. (Catholic)
  • Consubstantiation: The actual bread and wine remains bread and wine, but the body and blood of Christ are present “in, with, and amidst” (”im, mit und unter”) the bread and wine. (Luther: present day Lutherans, Episcopals)
  • Symbolic: Christ is not really present; Christ is in heaven. The bread and wine are symbols, to remind us of Christ, for he said: “Do this in rememberance of me”.(Calvin: other Protestants)

Modern churches seem to prefer to gloss over these differences. Historically, however, fine theological distinctions regarding communion represented large scale socio-political conflicts. The Reformation began when Martin Luther was “excommunicated” by the Church: i.e. formally denied permission to participate in Communion. Bohmeian armies in the 1500-1600’s, went to battle with a flag displaying the Communion cup. This symbolized Bohemia’s acceptance of the proto-Reformation activism of Jan Hus, who sought among other things to restore the use of both elements, bread and wine, to the Mass. The Church had gradually withheld the distribution of wine from the ceremony, passing out only pieces of bread to the people. Hus was burned at the stake for his troubles.

Those Christians who believe in the Real Presence of Christ in the Eucharist at Communion do not consider the Communion Elements to be a mere symbol of Christ's Body and Blood. They assert that the elements are actually transformed into the Body and Blood of Christ.

Belief in this transformation depends on the belief that the observable qualities of a thing such as color, texture, weight, etc. can be separated from the essential nature of the thing itself. The observable qualities are referred to technically as accidents and the essential nature is referred to as the substance.

In the theory of Transsubstantiation, the accidents of the Communion Elements remain the same while their substance is wholly transformed into that of the Body and Blood of Christ. Roman Catholics, most prominently, subscribe to this theory.

In the theory of Cosubstantiation, the accidents of the Communion Elements remain the same while the substance of the Body and Blood of Christ are added in along with the substance of the elements. Lutherans, for example, subscribe to this theory.

Regardless of the theory, exactly how this transformation is affected is held as a mystery by those who subscribe to the belief in the Real Presence of Christ in communion.

Com*mun"ion (?), n. [L. communio: cf. F. communion. See Common.]

1.

The act of sharing; community; participation.

"This communion of goods."

Blackstone.

2.

Intercourse between two or more persons; esp., intimate association and intercourse implying sympathy and confidence; interchange of thoughts, purposes, etc.; agreement; fellowship; as, the communion of saints.

We are naturally induced to seek communion and fellowship with others. Hooker.

What communion hath light with darkness? 2 Cor. vi. 14.

Bare communion with a good church can never alone make a good man. South.

3.

A body of Christians having one common faith and discipline; as, the Presbyterian communion.

4.

The sacrament of the eucharist; the celebration of the Lord's supper; the act of partaking of the sacrament; as, to go to communion; to partake of the communion.

Close communion. See under Close, a. -- Communion elements, the bread and wine used in the celebration of the Lord's supper. -- Communion service, the celebration of the Lord's supper, or the office or service therefor. -- Communion table, the table upon which the elements are placed at the celebration of the Lord's supper. -- Communion in both kinds, participation in both the bread and wine by all communicants. -- Communion in one kind, participation in but one element, as in the Roman Catholic Church, where the laity partake of the bread only.

Syn. -- Share; participation; fellowship; converse; intercourse; unity; concord; agreement.

 

© Webster 1913.

Log in or registerto write something here or to contact authors.