-Other churches have different beliefs about communion. We as Lutherans believe the bread and wine is really Jesus. How that happens is a mystery. What do other Christian traditions practice and believe about the Lord's Supper?
-One participant asked “What do you do with leftover communion bread?” There are currently two different thoughts among Lutherans: 1. It's Jesus only when we celebrate communion. 2. Once it's Jesus, it's always Jesus. Those two ideas are reflected in how we treat the bread and wine during and after communion. Bear in mind, there are two figurative ditches to drive into with these two ways of thinking: 1. We either don't take it seriously, as in, we don't think it's really Jesus. 2. We can make it into a legalistic practice, as in, we have to do everything in a specific manner to insure we do not somehow spoil Jesus.
-An older translation of the Small Catechism quotes Jesus as saying, “New testament in my blood.” What's a testament?
-When did we start using wafers instead of bread? Some of it goes back to the Passover story and Jesus and the disciples celebrating the Passover Seder. Furthermore, during the middle ages in the Western church (Catholic), it was slowly decided that communion bread should be different from everyday bread. So, it turned into the wafer many use today. Some Roman Catholic and protestant churches are moving away from wafers.
-“Eating unworthily.” Read 1 Corinthians 11:17-34 along with Luther's explanation. What does this mean to eat unworthily? What makes someone “worthy” to receive the Lord's Supper?
-What prepares us for receiving communion?
-What is the big benefit in receiving communion? Faith is something that is tangible. Here, forgiveness is not something merely spoken, but something we can eat and drink.
-How many of you have been to a church where you were not allowed to receive communion? Why do you think that was?
-Lutherans sometimes practice close communion in their congregations because they want to protect people from eating unworthily, as mentioned above. How this is done, varies by congregation and denomination. Other Lutherans practice something called open communion, where all baptized Christians are welcome to receive. The idea here is that God is the one at work in communion, not ourselves. Again, how this is done varies by congregation and denomination.