Sacraments

Communion

The Sacrament of Communion is usually celebrated on the first Sunday of each month. The Table of the Lord is open to all who wish to receive it. No conditions.


Baptism

Baptisms are joyfully celebrated within the context of Sunday worship. 


A Concise Theology of Communion

Communion is also referred to as Eucharist, a word with Greek roots meaning thanksgiving. The Communion bread and wine are symbols. They are gifts to us as products of earth and of human labor and human artistry. We bring these gifts out of the bounty we are given and offer them in gratitude. God takes them and yet gives them right back for our nourishment.


We ingest the bread and wine. We ingest, too, all the stories of bread and cup (manna, leaven, Passover, last supper, cup of blessing, cup of wrath, promised banquet). Our memories are provoked but so are our imaginations. These symbols cause us to look both back and forward, to recall divine faithfulness, to realize and confirm divine promises.


Three basic views of the physical elements of the Eucharist include transubstantiation, with an Aristotelian metaphysic that indicates the elements are transformed into the actual body and blood of Christ; consubstantiation, born from a more mystical theology which holds that the Spirit is present in the elements; and what early church reformer Ulrich Zwingli identified as remembering through mere symbolism. Here at Edgebrook Community Church, we are less interested in choosing among these views as finding a progressive and faithful interpretation of the symbol— a sacramental understanding in which symbols are not “mere symbols,” but serve as icons in the best sense of the word, i.e., material objects that are not ends in themselves but windows to the divine, a means to see, to reach what is not material— the encounter of this people, of all the stories, of the act of sharing food and eating together with Spirit/God/Christ in an event that has the power to transform our lives.


This is Eucharist— a word that means thanksgiving. It is at the table where we gather to remember and give thanks for what God has done for us in history, where we envision and practice again and again the great hope to which we are called. At table, we are nourished with bread and wine for the journey. We are called to the table not because we must come but because we may; not because we are worthy but because we are hungry; not because we are ready but because we are thirsty. We are called to the table to remember, to give thanks, to commemorate what God has done in history. Above all, we are called to leave the table to heal the world.


A Concise Theology of Baptism

Baptism is a rite of initiation into the Christian faith. It is an act in which God’s claim upon us, God’s promise that nothing can separate us from God’s love, is expressed and demonstrated. In the United Church of Christ, we recognize the legitimacy of both infant and adult baptisms by either sprinkling or immersion as well as the authority of baptisms celebrated within other Christian denominations.


Baptism reminds us that we, that our futures, rest peacefully in God’s heart. We are marked as God’s own forever. Whether being baptized or witnessing the baptism of another, as Christians who live in community, we hear and see once more the astounding truth that nothing can separate us from God or from God’s love. Furthermore, each time an infant is handed from parent to pastor in the presence and witness of our faith community, we enact the claim that our children are not only our children, but are entrusted to the One who promises life even after death. We are marked as God’s forever.