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Communion: The Meal that Makes Us One

As one of two sacraments of The United Methodist Church, Holy Communion has become a practice repeated time and time again to receive nourishment for the journey of being a Christian. MaryJane Pierce-Norton shares its meaning in this video meditation which you can watch and download to reflect on how this holy meal nourishes your own faith journey.

Learn more about how United Methodists understand communion.

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(Voice of MaryJane Pierce-Norton, General Board of Discipleship)
It’s our Show and Tell time from God, where God took very ordinary elements—the bread, the juice, the water—and took those and imbued them with deep, deep meaning.

Outdoor Congregation: “Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord.”

And it is very much a communal act. We receive strength from each other, we gather together, we’re joined together.

It’s the Lord’s table and all are welcome here. So that’s a core concept for us as United Methodists.

We believe that all are welcome no matter their age, no matter their intellectual abilities, no matter their physical abilities, we are all welcome at the table.

It actually comes from a Latin term that talked about a vow that is taken, a promise. And so in communion, we make a promise of being united to God, united to one another, for the bringing of God’s kingdom into the world.

In the United Methodist Church, the statement that most explains communion for us is called this Holy Mystery because…it takes us out of those things we may be able to explain into the mystery of God in a way that we may never be able to explain…but we can claim.

There is no rule that says you can take it too frequently. In fact, John Wesley, in the formative years of Methodism, took it as many as four or five times a week, and he said to the people called Methodists at that time, take communion as often as you can. It is food for the journey.

I really like the reason we started World Communion Sunday. I don’t know that many people are aware but, it started in 1933 by a Presbyterian church. It was a time where people felt without hope, they felt divided. And the idea sprang out of this church was, we need a Sunday were all who are Christians gather at a table and remember we are one. 

I think about that a lot and how it came out of a time of hopelessness and fear, and I wonder if it’s that different from what we may feel today as we listen to what’s going around the world and strength that comes of knowing we are united.


Learn more about Holy Communion and United Methodist beliefs.

The images in this video were taken by photographers from various United Methodist conferences and agencies.

This video was first posted on October 2, 2014.