About this tab The Eucharist, or the Lord's Supper, has been interpreted from the Bible and executed in various ways by Christian communities throughout time. It has developed into a form with subtle, yet significant differences than its original description in the Bible. Yet, the power of it stands in the fact that it is still applicable to the masses and services that exist today, 2000 years after it was written in the Bible.
There are various existing perspectives on the contemporary practices of celebrating the Eucharist within Christian communities today. A common theme throughout many articles that discuss this is that the practice of celebrating the Eucharist, or the Lord’s Supper, has evolved into a modern interpretation that holds several differences from its original form. Most of these articles have different opinions on whether or not this should be deemed as positive. John Stevens is the National Director of the Fellowship of Independent Evangelical Churches. On the Forum of Christian Leaders website, it states that this is “a family of over 500 Bible-centered churches in the UK,” and Stevens has been in this position for six years (Euro Leadership Forum). Furthermore, Stevens believes in a firm following of the Bible as it is written, and strongly rejects the modern practices of the Lord’s Supper. Stevens is quite astonished by the distance between the description of the Lord’s Supper in the gospels and the way in which it is contemporarily practiced. He believes that this distance has lead to a loss of sanctity with regard to the most important part of the mass or service. According to Stevens, there should be no question as to how the Lord’s Supper should be practiced because it is only explicitly mentioned in 1 Corinthians, in which Paul is correcting misuses of practices, in the three gospels, Matthew, Mark, and Luke, and in the book of Revelation. Only Luke gives any indication that the actions performed by Jesus and the apostles should be followed and carried on by the church; Matthew and Mark do not give mention to this. Stevens’ additional reasons for his dissonance with the modern practices of the Lord’s Supper in the church is the “degree of morbid introspection that is expected and encouraged” (Stevens 26), the fact that there are nonbelievers or believers who do not participate that are present, and that “participation in this symbolic ritual is thought to be the moment at which believers will experience the felt presence of Jesus to the greatest extent” (Stevens 27) These ‘traditions’ are found within many Protestant, Anglican, High Presbyterian, and Baptist services today. The three synoptic gospels do not make mention of these verses on the Lord’s Supper, and Luke is the only gospel that states “do this in remembrance of me” (Luke 23:20). Furthermore, Stevens believes in following the gospels in a direct fashion, for “if our contemporary practice of the Lord’s Supper is substantially different to what we find in these passages then we are no longer reflecting the apostolic teaching, which is itself the Spirit-inspired word of the Lord Jesus to his church” (Stevens 29).
A slightly different perspective on the practice of celebrating the Eucharist is that of Laurence Freeman. Laurence Freeman is a Benedictine monk and Catholic priest. In addition, he is the Director of the World Community for Christian Meditation. Freeman holds the belief that the Eucharist is a means of giving thanks to God, and receiving grace from the presence of God’s only son, Jesus Christ. He also believes that the Eucharist is a coming together of free people. We meet as a free gathering of free souls who may be strangers at one level but are true friends at another.” Additionally, by practicing this, we are deepening our personal relationship with God as well as our communal relationship with the church. Yet, Freeman calls for the Eucharist to be rediscovered and redeveloped to fit and adapt to the world we live in today. For example, he explains how we live in a secular age, with a great emphasis on time and money, but “we can rediscover the Eucharist by understanding it as sacred time, whether it is weekly or daily” (Freeman 554). Freeman explains how we live in an age obsessed with entertainment, and that that comes with an abundance of distractions. Freeman believes that we must use the Eucharist to remind us that there is more to life than entertainment, and that we should recognize that it has the power to “restore us to the real presence of God we call living in the present moment” (Freeman 554). Furthermore, Freeman is implying that we must apply the Eucharist to modern aspects of our lives in order to utilize it to it’s full potential. Freeman asserts, “I don't think we can do that just by talking about it; we do it primarily by experiencing it, by participating in a liturgy that is mindful, reverent, silent, joyful and present, full of the mystical presence, the simple beauty and the warm fellowship that Christ generates” (Freeman 555).