Bread and Wine

Lord's Supper

After the Sanctus, following Jesus' example at his Last Supper, the priest takes the bread and says as Jesus did, "This is my body, which is given for you.  Do this in remembrance of me." This is followed by the wine.

This section is called the Insitution, because Jesus started or instituted the tradition of the Lord's Supper.  Episcopalians have the Lord's Supper, also called Holy Communion, Mass, Eucharist and the Lord's Table every Sunday to recall and to celebrate the central fact of the Christian faith: the death and the resurrection of Jesus Christ.

After the remembrance of the Last Supper, the priest asks the Holy Spirit to sanctify the bread and the wine that they may be the body and blood of Christ.  Episcopalians believe that, although the bread and wine remain bread and wine, Christ is spiritually present in them.  This is called a sacrament, "an outward and visible sign of an inward and spiritual grace."  In a way that transcends our understanding, we enconter Jesus in the bread and wine as his two disciples did, after his resurrection, when they recognized Christ's presence when he broke the bread with them in Emmaus (Luke 24:13-31).  The bread and the wine are a source of spiritual power for the faithful because of Christ's presence.

The prayer concludes with what is called the Great Amen.  The word Amen comes from a Hebrew word that means "so be it."  The congregation gives their agreement to all that has been said not only in the eucharistic prayer but also to the redeeming significance of Christ's death and resurrection for their lives and for the world.

Example from Eucharistic Prayer A in Book of Common Prayer

Holy and gracious Father: In your infinite love you made us 
for yourself, and, when we had fallen into sin and become 
subject to evil and death, you, in your mercy, sent Jesus 
Christ, your only and eternal Son, to share our human 
nature, to live and die as one of us, to reconcile us to you, the 
God and Father of all.

He stretched out his arms upon the cross, and offered himself, 
in obedience to your will, a perfect sacrifice for the whole 

On the night he was handed over to suffering and death, our 
Lord Jesus Christ took bread; and when he had given thanks 
to you, he broke it, and gave it to his disciples, and said, "Take, 
eat: This is my Body, which is given for you. Do this for the 
remembrance of me."

After supper he took the cup of wine; and when he had given 
thanks, he gave it to them, and said, "Drink this, all of you: 
This is my Blood of the new Covenant, which is shed for you 
and for many for the forgiveness of sins. Whenever you drink 
it, do this for the remembrance of me."

Therefore we proclaim the mystery of faith:

Celebrant and People:

Christ has died.
Christ is risen.
Christ will come again.

The Celebrant continues,

We celebrate the memorial of our redemption, O Father, in 
this sacrifice of praise and thanksgiving. Recalling his death, 
resurrection, and ascension, we offer you these gifts.

Sanctify them by your Holy Spirit to be for your people the 
Body and Blood of your Son, the holy food and drink of new 
and unending life in him. Sanctify us also that we may faithfully 
receive this holy Sacrament, and serve you in unity, constancy, 
and peace; and at the last day bring us with all your saints 
into the joy of your eternal kingdom.

All this we ask through your Son Jesus Christ: By him, and 
with him, and in him, in the unity of the Holy Spirit all honor 
and glory is yours, Almighty Father, now and for ever. AMEN.