Celebrating the Lord's Supper at Home
The Lord's Supper is a memorial of our Savior's death by which he atoned for all our sins. Those who have accepted Jesus Christ as their personal Savior participate in this service. Church members usually participate in the Lord's Supper service with their congregation. When this is not possible, it may be observed privately or in small groups.
Our Lord's Supper service may be held on Maundy Thursday (the Thursday evening before Easter), in the evening beginning the 14th day of the Hebrew month Nisan, or on other dates. Many of our congregations observe the Lord's Supper during the regular weekly worship services.
Prior to an in-home service, you will want to have a small amount of bread (either leavened or unleavened) and a small glass with about a tablespoon of red wine or grape juice for each person who will participate. If it is desired and if two or more are participating, also have a basin with clean water and towels for a foot-washing ceremony (see article on footwashing).
This is a sober, yet joyful, occasion, because we are reflecting on the suffering and death of Jesus Christ, who gave his life to reconcile us to God. The Lord's Supper is for those who place their faith in Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord.
The service may begin with prayer. While the occasion is a sober one, it is also most encouraging and joyful, because it reveals God's unbounded love for his people. We are given this reminder of the glorious victory over sin and death that is ours because of the sacrifice of the Son of God. Those who participate in the service are expressing their faith in Christ's death in their behalf and participating in the body and blood of our Savior (1 Corinthians 10:16).
Participants may wish to read 1 Corinthians 11:23-30 and John 6:32-58. The eating and drinking of the symbols of Jesus' body and blood are directly associated with eternal life.
Foot washing (optional)
If desired and if two or more people are participating, they may wash each other's feet (John 13:1-17) before celebrating the Lord's Supper.
Eating the bread
This part of the Lord's Supper ceremony may begin with the reading of Matthew 26:26-30, followed by 1 Corinthians 10:16-17. The bread symbolizes the body of Jesus Christ, the Bread of Life. Christ lives in us through the indwelling of the Holy Spirit, making us part of the unified body of Christ — his church, the family of God made up of all believers everywhere through all time. Eating the bread indicates our commitment to Jesus Christ (Matthew 26:26-30; 1 Peter 2:20-24).
Give thanks for the bread, asking God to bless it as a symbol of Christ's body, given for us. This prayer should include thanksgiving for the fact that Christ suffered for us and that he has cleansed and healed us of all sin. Thank God for his love and mercy. Thank him for inviting us to eat of him, to come to his table and to share in his suffering that we might also share in his glory. Then each person may eat a small piece of the bread.
Drinking the wine (or grape juice)
As this portion of the service begins, the participants may want to take turns reading aloud such passages as Matthew 26:27-28, Hebrews 9:11-15, 1 John 1:7, Ephesians 1:7 and Colossians 1:20-22.
Give a prayer of thanks for the wine, asking God to bless it as the symbol of Christ's blood, shed for the remission of our sins. Thank God for the sacrifice of his only Son to die for us, washing us clean and reconciling us to him. After the prayer, each member may drink the small portion of wine.
Next, the group may want to read portions from John 13:18 through John 17, and 2 Corinthians 5:16-21.
The service may be concluded with one or more songs, and prayer (Matthew 26:30).
After the service, any bread and wine that had been taken into the room for the service and had been blessed should be respectfully discarded. None of this bread or wine ought to be consumed for any other purpose after the service.