Eucharist is the word used mostly in the Scottish Episcopal Church for what is also known as Mass, Holy Communion, Last Supper. It is the highlight of the Liturgy at most of our services.
At St Paul and St John the Evangelist we come forward to the altar rail to receive the elements of the Eucharist; the Bread/Body (we use wafers) and Wine/Blood. The Scottish Episcopal Church allows for those who believe the bread and wine are transformed into Jesus’ literal body and blood, or transformed metaphorically into Jesus’ body and blood, or remain symbols only. We firmly believe that the beliefs of those receiving and the belief of the priest do not need to be the same. God is more than capable of working through things in different ways to fulfil the personal journeys of faith people are on. This is part of the wonder of God and the mystery of the Eucharist.
The Eucharist is considered one of the sacraments of the church. Sacraments are those things that Jesus did and told us to also do. Words from the Eucharist prayer are believed to be similar to those Jesus used at the Last Supper in the Upper Room on the first Maundy Thursday. Our Eucharistic prayer has roots back to the liturgy believed to be used by the infant church in Jerusalem and is attributed to by St James, Jesus’ brother. A Sacrament is sometimes called an outward and visible sign of an inward invisible truth. In the Eucharist this means that what we do not only reminds us of what Jesus did, but in the remembering it changes us in some way, making us more Christ like. This includes all present including those who might not, for whatever reason, receive the bread and wine/body and blood. Being present, in communion, with one another during that remembrance, praying together as one, we are drawn into unity with one another and with God.
It is perfectly valid to receive the Eucharist in only one form, indeed that was the case for centuries, and has been the case in many instances when for a variety of reasons only one kind has either been available or been able to be taken. There is also an option to receive a blessing instead of the elements, and this similarly is a response and acknowledgement of Christ working in and through your life and in the blessing being part of him and gaining strength for the week ahead.
You can find the most upto date version of the 1982 Liturgy of the Scottish Episcopal Church at the link below, or you can come along and experience it for yourself at one of our services. Currently we have weekly services at 11am on a Sunday when parts of the liturgy are sung and there are hymns and on a Wednesday when the service is just said. Keep an eye on our new feed for other services which will happen from time to time. The Eucharistic Liturgy only comes alive in the company of others. The word liturgy has Greek roots and means ‘work for the people’ or ‘public service’. Unlike the Offices of the church, services such as morning prayer, evening prayer and compline, it can not be celebrated alone, although during the CoVid-19 pandemic it was often celebrated with others being present on-line rather than in physically in the church.