The Eucharist is the basic and essential service of worship for Christians. The Church continues to re-present Jesus' victory of love upon the Cross by celebrating this Sacrament. We glorify God by re-offering ourselves to him in this Sacrament of praise and thanksgiving.
This act which we do in remembrance of Jesus is a perpetual memorial of his precious death. This memorial is an anamnesis: it enables us in the present to participate in Christ's redemptive work of the past. In the Eucharist we are, as it were, right there in the Upper Room and at Calvary, offering ourselves within his perfect Sacrifice.
It is a two-way action. To God, we offer as Jesus offered. From God, we receive Jesus' nourishment by hearing the words of Scripture and receiving the sacrament of His body and blood.
Three titles for this service are found in the Book of Common Prayer: 1) The Holy Communion, reminds us that this Sacrament is an intimate communion with Jesus Christ; 2) The Lord's Supper, reminds us that this Sacrament is a holy meal which Jesus, our host, shares with us; 3) The Eucharist, reminds us that this Sacrament is an offering of thanksgiving (Eucharist, from the Greek, meaning thanksgiving).
The Mass: a title that is used by Roman Catholics, by Lutherans, and by some Anglicans.
The Liturgy: a title is used by Orthodox Christians.
The Breaking of Bread: the title used by the Church in New Testament times. It reminds us how Jesus' body on the cross was broken for us, and how as individuals, we all are members of his One Body, the Church.
The Basic Structure of the Eucharist
There are two distinct parts to this service. The first, ‘the service of the Word,’ focuses upon the Bible readings, and comes to a climax in the reading of the Gospel. The second, "the Service of the Sacrament," focuses upon the Bread and the Wine, and comes to a climax in the reception of the Communion.
The Service of the Word
The Preparation: Collect for Purity, The Law—10 Commandments or Summary of the Law.
Collect: this prayer often ‘collects’ the theme of the Epistle and Gospel.
Epistle: this is part of a letter, and instructs us in the Christian Life.
Gospel: this presents Jesus in his words and actions.
The Nicene Creed sums up the whole of the Faith.
The sermon applies the Faith to today’s living.
The Service of the Sacrament
The priest in this Sacrament takes the bread and wine, gives thanks over them, breaks the bread, and gives it to the people.
The Offertory: we offer our lives to God in the offering of the bread and wine and by offering money that we earn. The
Intercession: we offer our concerns for others. The Confession: we offer ourselves in faith and penitence.
The Thanksgiving and Consecration: we praise God for Jesus Christ in his Birth, Death and Resurrection. Jesus becomes present in the bread and wine.
The Breaking: In Christ's broken Body we discover his peace.
The Communion: We feed upon the Life of Christ.