Calvin’s Manner of Celebrating the Sacrament of the Lord’s Supper

Taken and adapted  from, “Preces Ecclesiastics”
This particular piece of liturgy came from John Calvin, with the exception of the ‘Consecrating Prayer,’ which came from the Liturgy of Geneva; and ‘The Manner of setting apart the Elements,’ which came from the Directory of Worship.





Sacrament of the Lord’s Supper

The service may be introduced by the singing of a Sacramental Hymn, followed by these prayers.

The Lord’s Prayer.

Our Father which art in Heaven, Hallowed be Thy Name. Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread. And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil : For Thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever. Amen.


Most Gracious God! whose well-beloved Son hath once offered up His body and blood upon the Cross for the remission of our sins, and doth vouchsafe them for our meat and drink unto life eternal: Grant us grace, with sincere hearts and fervent desires,to accept this great blessing at Thy hands. May we by lively faith partake of His body and blood, yea, of Himself, true God and man, that only bread from heaven, that giveth life unto our souls. Suffer us no more to live unto ourselves, according to a corrupt and sinful nature; but may He live in us, and lead us to the life that is holy, blessed, and unchangeable for ever. Thus may we be partakers of the new and everlasting Testament, which is the Covenant of grace. And thus assure us of Thy willingness ever to be our gracious Father ; not imputing to us our sins,but as Thy beloved heirs and children, providing us with all things needful for our good, that both by our works and words we may magnify Thy Name. Fit us, O heavenly Father! at this time so to celebrate the blessed remembrance of Thy beloved Son. Enable us profitably to contemplate His love,and shew forth the benefits of His death ; That receiving fresh increase of strength in Thy faith and in all good works,we may with more confidence call Thee our Father,and evermore rejoice in Thee: Through  Jesus Christ our Redeemer. Amen.

Let us now make profession of our faith in the doctrine of the Christian religion, wherein we do all purpose, by the grace of God, to live and to die.

The Creed.

I believe in God the Father Almighty, Maker of heaven and earth: and in Jesus Christ His only Son our Lord; who was conceived by the Holy Ghost, born of the Virgin Mary, suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, dead, and buried; He descended into hell ; the third day He rose again from the dead; He ascended into heaven,and sitteth on the right hand of God the Father Almighty; from thence He shall come to judge the quick and the dead. I believe in the Holy Ghost; the Holy Catholic Church,the Communion of Saints; the forgiveness of sins; the resurrection of the body; and the life everlasting.

Then follows the Exhortation; prefaced with the words of the institution, from 1 Corinthians 11:23-30.


Attend to the words of the institution of the Holy Supper of our Lord Jesus Christ,as they are delivered by the Apostle Paul.

For I have received of the Lord that which also I delivered unto you, That the Lord Jesus,the same night in which He was betrayed, took bread: and when He had given thanks, He brake it, and said, Take, eat; this is my body, which is broken for you: this do in remembrance of me. After the same manner also, He took the cup, when He had supped, saying, ‘This cup is the new testament in my blood: this do ye, as oft as ye drink it, in remembrance of me. For as often as ye eat this bread, and drink this cup, ye do shew the Lord’s death till He come.’ Wherefore, whosoever shall eat this bread, and drink this cup of the Lord ,unworthily, shall be guilty of the body and blood of the Lord. But let a man examine himself, and so let him eat of that bread,and drink of that cup. For he that eateth and drinketh unworthily, eateth and drinketh damnation to himself, not discerning the Lord’s body.

We have heard, brethren, in what manner our Lord celebrated the Supper among His disciples; whence we see that those who are not of the company of the faithful, may not approach it. Wherefore, in obedience to this rule, in the Name and by the authority of our Lord Jesus Christ, I warn all idolaters, blasphemers, despisers of God, heretics, all that are rebellious against fathers and mothers,all that are seditious, contentious, injurious, and all that lead corrupt and wicked lives: that they abstain from this Table, lest they pollute the sacred food which our Lord giveth only to His faithful servants. Let each of you then, according to St. Paul’s exhortations examine and prove his own conscience, to know whether he have true repentance, and sorrow for his sins; whether he desires henceforth to lead a holy and godly life; above all things, whether he puts his whole trust in God’s mercy, and seeks his whole salvation in Jesus Christ; and renouncing all enmity and malice, doth truly and honestly purpose to live in harmony and brotherly love with his neighbour.

If we have this testimony in our hearts before God, we may not doubt that He adopts us for His children, and that our Lord Jesus addresses to us His word, admitting us to His Table, and presenting us with this holy Sacrament, which He bestows upon His followers. And notwithstanding that we feel many infirmities and miseries in ourselves as, namely, that we have not perfect faith, and that we have not given ourselves to serve God with such zeal as we are bound to do, but have daily to battle with the lusts of our flesh: Yet since the Lord hath been graciously pleased to print His Gospel upon our hearts, and hath enabled us to withstand all unbelief; and hath given us this earnest desire to renounce our own thoughts and follow His righteousness and His holy commandments: Therefore we rest assured,that remaining sins and imperfections do not prevent us from being received of God, and made worthy partakers of this spiritual food. For we come not to this Supper to testify hereby that we are perfect and righteous in ourselves: but on the contrary, seeking our life in Jesus Christ, we acknowledge that we lie in the midst of death. Let us then look upon this Sacrament as a medicine for those who are spiritually sick ; and consider that all the worthiness our Lord requires is, that we truly know ourselves to be sorry for our sins, and find our pleasure, joy, and satisfaction in Him above.

First, then, we must believe these promises that Jesus Christ, who is Infallible Truth, hath pronounced with His own lips: That He is truly willing to make us partakers of His body and of His blood, in order that we may wholly possess Him, that He may live in us, and we in Him. And although we see here only the Bread and Wine, let us not doubt that He will accomplish spiritually in your souls all that He outwardly exhibits by these visible signs: He will shew Himself to be the heavenly Bread, to feed and nourish us unto life eternal. Let us not be unthankful to the infinite goodness of our Lord,who displays all His riches at this Table, to distribute them among us. For in giving Himself to us, He testifies that all He hath is ours. Also let us receive this Sacrament as a pledge, that the virtue of His death and passion is imputed unto us for righteousness; even as though we had suffered in our own persons. Let no man perversely draw back, when Jesus doth gently invite him by His Word. But considering the dignity  of His precious gift, let us present ourselves to Him with an ardent zeal,that He may make us capable of receiving it.

And now to this end lift up your minds and hearts on high, where Christ abideth in the glory of His Father, whence we expect His coming at our redemption. Dwell not on these earthly and corruptible elements, which we see present to our eyes, and feel with our hands,to seek Him in them,as though He were inclosed in the bread or in the wine. Be satisfied to have this bread and this wine for witnesses and signs; seeking spiritually the truth where God’s Word hath promised that we shall find it. For then only shall our souls be disposed to crave food and life from His substance, when they shall thus be lifted above all worldly things, even unto heaven, and enter into the kingdom of God, where He dwells.

The Consecrating Prayer.

Lord God! The Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! Thou that art infinite goodness and perfect love! We bring Thee the sacrifice of our praise and the offering up of our thanks, for Thine inestimable gift in sending Thy Son into the world; for delivering Him up to die for us all; and for inviting us to participate in the fruits of His atonement, at the Table of this holy feast. Lord ! what are we, to receive such priceless benefits at Thy hand? or how shall we worthily shew forth our gratitude to Thee? The heavens and the earth, O Lord ! are full of the tokens of Thy bounty: but especially doest Thou manifest Thy love,in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. Accept, O Lord our God ! the homage of Thine adoring people. And grant that we, partaking of this holy Sacrament, to which we are welcomed by Thy grace, may now join ourselves by the bonds of living faith and true holiness to our Saviour: so that we shall not henceforth live unto ourselves, but that He may live in us, to lead us to that blessed life that shall have no end.

Father of Mercies! who didst not spare Thine only-begotten Son, but deliveredst Him to death for us all; and hast brought us into His fellowship that we may obtain everlasting life: We Thy servants,with a lively sense of Thy precious gift, do now consecrate ourselves entirely unto Thee. We present to Thee our bodies, and our souls, in a living, and holy sacrifice. And since Thou hast loved us so much, we acknowledge ourselves constrained to love one another. Impress our hearts, O God! with these holy inclinations: that so celebrating the remembrance of Thy dear Son, our faith may grow strong, our charity  increase, our sanctification advance and be made complete, until we be meet for the inheritance of Thy saints in light everlasting. Hear us, O Father of Mercies! we ask all in the Name of Thy well-beloved Son Jesus Christ our Lord: unto Whom, as unto Thee, and the Holy Ghost, one God, be honor, praise, and glory, now, henceforth, and for ever.

Then the Minister is to take the Bread and break it, in the view of the people, saying:

Our Lord Jesus Christ, on the same night in which He was betrayed, having taken bread,and blessed and broken it, gave it to His disciples; as I, ministering in His Name, give this bread unto you: saying, [here the bread is to be distributed] take, eat: this is My body, which is broken for you: this do in remembrance of Me.

After having given the Bread, he shall take the Cup, and say:

After the same manner our Saviour also took the cup; and having given thanks, as hath been done in His Name, He gave it to the disciples; saying, [here the cup is to be given,] This cup is the new testament in My blood, which is shed for many, for the remission of sins: drink ye all of it. For as often as ye eat this bread, and drink this cup, ye do shew the Lord’s death till He come.

The Minister himself is to communicate, at such time as may appear to him most convenient.
Then let a eucharistic hymn be sung.
The collection for the poor may be made after this.
Then the Minister is to pray, and give thanks to God.


Heavenly Father! we give Thee immortal praise and thanks that upon us poor sinners Thou hast conferred so rich a benefit, as to bring us into the communion of Thy Son Jesus Christ our Lord. Him having delivered up to death for us, Thou hast given for our food and nourishment unto eternal life. Now also grant us grace, that we may never be unmindful of these things; but carrying them about engraven on our hearts, may we advance and grow in that faith which is effectual unto every good work. Thus may the rest of our lives be ordered and followed out to Thy glory and the good of our fellow men: Through Jesus Christ our Lord: Who with Thee, O Father! and the Holy Ghost,liveth and reigneth in the unity of the Godhead, world without end.


Now the God of Peace, that brought again from the dead our Lord Jesus,that great Shepherd of the sheep, through the blood of the everlasting covenant, make you perfect in every good work to do His will,working in you that which is well pleasing in His sight, through Jesus Christ; to Whom be glory for ever and ever.

Some thoughts on this week’s “Communion Bread”

JesusCommunion-[Have you ever had a hard time knowing exactly what to think and feel about the eating of “The Bread?” Ever wonder why sometimes you just don’t seem to be in “the mood” to partake? Perhaps, you may have at some point wished that you were sitting in the back of the church so you could just slip out the door. And yes, I have too. In part, I think that the problem is that sometimes we don’t really know how to relate to the “Lord’s Table,” and also to the eating of the bread, at least not at the heart level. Yes, most of us know and understand intellectually, but sometimes it just doesn’t seem to sink in. True of course, sin can be and is often an issue. Yes again, anxieties of all sorts can figure in, including the football game right after church service. But I think that all of these issues may well relate back to just one thing; that we have, for whatever reason, lost our perspective.

The following story really “brought it home” for me and made me realize just how precious a gift this “bread of life” was and is, and also how hungry I really am for it; more than I could possibly realize. –MWP]

In February of 1871 a young French soldier lay as if dying in a hospital of Geneva. Cold, misery, and privation had destroyed the robust constitution; but worst of all was the heart-sickness, the longing for home.

Far away in his native village in Brittany was an old father over seventy, a mother, and a sister. Three brothers beside himself had left their paternal roof to defend their fatherland, and for months he had been in uncertainty as to the fate of these loved ones.

As he lay on what he thought would prove his deathbed he told a comrade that he would dearly like to see his old father once more. A letter was written, which found the family in great anxiety about their absent ones. The father, in spite of his seventy years, started at once. Many difficulties had to be overcome by the old man.
The father arrived at length in Geneva, and hastened to his son. “O, father!” said the sick soldier, “it is good you are come before I die.” “Ah, no; you must not die,” said the old man; “your mother is waiting for you at home. Courage, my lad; I have brought money, and will buy everything you need; only you must not die.” “It’s of no use, father,” cried the son, “I have here all I need; but I am not hungry. All sorts of good things are brought to tempt me to eat, but I cannot touch them;” and he fell back exhausted by this short conversation.

The poor father let fall his head on his breast quite disheartened. Had he indeed come so far only to take back the dead body of his son? All at once a bright thought flashed through his mind; he drew from his knapsack one of the common loaves of rye bread such as eaten by the peasants of Brittany. “Here, my son, take this; it was made by your mother.”

The sick lad turned his heavy eyes, stretched out his hand eagerly, crying, “Give it to me, father; I AM hungry!” As he ate his eye lighted up, the blood came back to his cheeks, and large tears rolled down his cheeks as he said, “It is so good! It is SO good! –The bread from my home!”

From that time he began to recover; and fifteen days later he was able to start on the homeward journey.

Jesus said, I am the bread of Life!

Think of it, like the young French lad, we are on the battlefield of life. Spiritually shot, wounded in sin, weak with a hunger we don’t understand, thirsting desperately for the water of  life, we sit each week at church, not really partaking fully in the worship of God, just sitting there…We are expecting to die…we really see no future, we have no concept of our calling, and our home, our true home is not even a distant thought. Then something inside of us stirs and we think, “oh how wonderful it would be to just see home, our real home.” “How wonderful,” we think, “it would be to see and feel comforted by our Father, our Heavenly Father.” And then by the great work of the Holy Spirit, we somehow find ourselves partaking of the “spiritual bread of life,” namely; Jesus.  And we realize that this is what we were missing. This is what was absent all along. Our perspective comes back, our sins are pushed away, and we hold on to this “bread of life” with everything that we have. We are desperate for it.  But, you know what the good news is?  The good news is that He is holding on to us with a grip that is far tighter than the one we hold on to him. He will never let you go! “All that the Father gives Me will come to Me,” Jesus says, “and the one who comes to Me I will certainly not cast out.” John 6:37 

Jesus said to them, “I am the bread of life; he who comes to Me will not hunger, and he who believes in Me will never thirst. -John 6:35

Come on! Don’t you think that its time to start our journey home?

The “Soldier’s Story” was taken from the Swiss Almanac (1884).

This Do in Remembrance of Me: My Own Private Thoughts When Approaching The Lord’s Supper

At the time of receiving…

lords_supper-1024x484Lord, I am here to remember your completed sacrifice against my sin, and to remember your grace against my corruption, and your love against my fears.


I believe your word; I remember your command; I adore your goodness; I wait for your redemption. Thank you for effecting your completed sacrifice on the cross and making it the seal of mercy, and the conveyance of life to me. O Lord Jesus, come into my heart.

I look to You for mercy and strength to keep mercy. I profess my faith in Christ, that I have pardon and peace with God, life and righteousness only by his death and merits; and to own my obligation to live unto him that died for me, in faith, love, and self-dedication. I look for Christ’s love and likeness; for the benefit and for the efficacy of the cross; to have the load of sin taken from my heart; and any other load, which Christ thinks fit, laid upon my back.

I look to You to help me leave sin behind me, and to receive Christ instead of it; and if I do the one, having laid my sins on Christ, with a will to forsake them, I am sure of the other.  Lord, grant me the peace, and all that comes with it, as well as love, patience, resignation, thankfulness, deliverance from the fear of death, and a hearty longing for eternity, I look to the cross for the pardon of sin, for the kindling of love, for the turning of my heart, for the renewal of my will.

I look to You, not to give, but to receive; not to tell you how good I am, but to think how good you are. I have a great many sins and wants to tell you Lord, more than would take up the whole day; and when I have told you all that I know of in myself, it is not the half, but a very little of what you know about me. I bring myself and my sin to you, believing that you will be all to me, and do all for me that is in your heart.

I go as a Sinner to a Saviour. To whom else should I go, with my blind eyes, foul leprosy, hard heart, and rebellious will? You tell me what I must have, I know not how many graces I need; but I cannot stay for them; my wants are urgent; I am a dying man. My Lord, with your own kindness, you say, “come; do this; remember me.” Your invitation is qualification enough for me to participate today; and I long to feed on you, to thank you, to take you into my heart. I will  behold you crucified, and your blood poured out for me, in spite of all my sins and fears; and though all the saints on earth stood up with one mouth to forbid me, I go to put myself under your wings, and to fly to you for refuge from the monster sin, ready to devour me.

I look to the Cross to know You and myself; to wonder at the reconciliation of strict punishment with free pardon; to see the greatness of my sin, and the greatness of my hope, in the greatness of the sacrifice therein represented; to sin no more, because I believe there is no condemnation for my sin; to be raised as high as heaven, and humbled in the dust; to be astonished at the mystery of Christ crucified, and to profess that I know less of God than ever.

Let me be daily thinking of the cross, daily in a state of thankfulness for it, daily living under it, resolving to receiving you in faith and humility, daily learning of your sacrifice of  love and undeserved mercy, making your love and life my pattern, and dreading the sin which could be expiated with no less a sacrifice.

“Do this in remembrance of me;” –I remember who I am, and what thou are; I will remember you as my Saviour; I will remember you as my Master; I will remember your love; I will remember you as hating my sin; I will remember you as bearing my sin; I will remember you and fear not; help me to remember you and sin not; help me to remember you, to live for you, by you, and through you.

Now knowing, and assuredly believing, the promises of God made over to me for the forgiveness of my sins, through faith in the blood of Christ;

I do from a detestation of my sinfulness, and a hearty sense of my want of pardoning grace, accept once again, your covenant of rest and peace: Trusting in you for the accomplishment of my whole salvation, in the way of gospel holiness, by your Spirit; and resolving without delay to put myself into your hands for that purpose. May you keep me steadfast in this faith and engagement, and carry me on from strength to strength that I may be one with you, my Saviour, and I live for you, and I love you with all my heart, and with all my soul.  


Behaving Yourself at the Lord’s Table

by Thomas Haweis (1734-1820)

Having thus improved the short time before the Lord’s Supper, when we come to the Table, we must mind the grand business we have to do there…

lord__s_supper_by_bclary-d37hhzp…which is to receive Christ’s pledge, in token that he hath received us, and to make a solemn surrender of our souls to him; so that henceforth our Maker is our husband, and we are no longer our own, but his.

Whilst the Minister, then, is about to put the elements into our hands, and to make his prayer over us, this surrender should be made in the following way.

1.    Deliberately

this_do_in_remembrance_of_me_16x20-largeHaving counted the cost, on one hand we see a merciful and all-sufficient Saviour, who hath all grace to pardon, and all power to renew promising us to undertake for us, to bless, preserve, and comfort us  yet withal, we being corrupt and fallen creatures, this cannot be done without a course of self-denial and mortification of our members upon earth, though to encourage us to it, this be most intimately connected with eternal glory. On the other hand, we see the indulgences of flesh and sense, the pleasures of sin for a season, but withal the curse of God in time and in eternity, we are therefore through grace fully disposed to renounce the one, and choose the other. This cannot be done too clearly and coolly. Before at our devotions, we cannot be too lively and fervent in spirit, here we cannot be too deliberate; choosing Christ as our best portion, whatever mortification and self-denial, whatever reproach, whatever difficulties may attend his service, that so we may not in a fit of devotion swear we will go with him to prison and to deaths and then by and by, when corruptions strive, and Satan tempts, or tribulation comes, be offended, and go back from our engagements, but so simply and steadily set our hands to the plough, as never to look back, but be faithful unto death, that we may receive the crown of life,

2.    Humbly.

bread-wineWe may not be confident, but in the Lord, and the power of his might. We are promising things, the least of which is above our strength. God must work in tis to do, as he hath wrought in us to will; and it is with this we must surrender up ourselves to him, humbly sensible that we are not in any wise sufficient of ourselves, but we commit our souls into his hands, as a faithful Creator, The sense of our own nothingness should especially lie upon our hearts, when we are admitted to this awful covenant, and receive the seals of it into,our hands. All is from the Lord; he alone that hath begun his work in us, can perfect the same, and enable us to abide faithful to the vows which are upon us.

3.    Cheerfully.

We are a willing people; we give up our souls to Christ and all we have and are, to be for ever his, not merely because we are bound to do it, as because we delight to do it. We are a free-will offering; drawn, not driven; hearty, not reserved j love fixes our choice, and Christ is to us all in all. We wish we had a thousand hearts to give him; we would not hesitate to part with any thing he calls for;  we would delight in that which he commands. With a willing mind, we take his easy yoke and light burden, and are pleased with every opportunity of renewing our bonds, that we may thereby be united closer to the Lord, our head.

4.    Sincerely.

JesusCommunion-This indeed is the life of the whole. A double heart, a reserved surrender, is an abomination before God. If our eye pities, or our heart spares one evil temper, one sin—if we should dissemble with our lips, and flatter him with our tongue, woe unto us ! he that seeth our thoughts afar off, would condemn us even on our knees at the table. Though we should deceive ourselves by our hypocrisy, God cannot be mocked. We must be sincere before him, our naked souls should be exposed to his view, and an honest appeal to our hearts, that God himself knows we desire to make no reserve.

See to this, that you make no partial surrender; God must have all our hearts or none: if we divide them, by fixing one part on the world; if we would plead for ever so little of its sinful indulgences -, if we want to reconcile the services of God and mammon; allowing part of our affections to the pleasures, vanities, interests, or gain of this present evil world, and think God will be satisfied with the remainder, we are utterly mistaken.

The true surrender is to give up all, and to take Christ as Lord of all, our King to reign over us, as well as our propitiation and atonement. This is sincerity, much talked of, but little known. See that it be your own case: without it the strongest promises, the greatest outward reformation, the most lively pangs of devotion, a torrent of tears, or the most solemn remorse, will but deceive you. Coolly, humbly, cheerfully, and wholly, without partiality, and without hypocrisy, desire to give up your soul to Christ; that so you may be able to adopt the words of an excellent Christian, and testify as he did,

 But if I might make some reserve,draft_lens9708151module86930951photo_1267128158jesus_bread_lords_supper_
 And duty did not call,
I love my Lord with such a love,

That I would give him all.”

It will be a blessed ordinance indeed, if you can see such to be the frame of your heart at Christ’s Table, and seal it by the solemn pledges of the Body and Blood of Christ, which are put into your hands. Here then yon will see at the first view the absurdity and ignorance it betrays, to be coming up to the Lord’s Table reading some book pf devotion, and in a formal dull way to be supplying the want of spirituality by such a lifeless repetition of a number of words. Surely if you come to give up your heart to Christ, if you feel like obligations lying upon you to do so, you can never need to read it out of a book; your eye should be on your heart, not the paper; and you should be looking to the dear Saviour, whom you are remembering, and calling forth this heartiness simplicity, and sincerity of soul, with which you choose the Lord for your portion.

Thus you may know how to behave at the Lord’s Table.

communion-invitationsMeet the author and part of your Christian Heritage:  Thomas Haweis (surname pronounced to rhyme with ‘pause’) 1734-1820. Sponsored by the Reverend Joseph Jane of St Mary Magdalene Parish Church in Oxford, in 1748 he entered Christ’s College. There he organised a prayer group often seen as a successor to the Wesleys’ “Holy Club”. After graduation, he was ordained into the Church of England by the Bishop of Oxford in 1757 to serve as curate to Joseph Jane.

In 1762, he was appointed to the Lock Hospital, London, under the guidance of the Chaplain, Martin Madan. At this time he met Selina Hastings, Countess of Huntingdon and preached in many of her chapels. Although offered an incumbency in Philadelphia by George Whitefield, he opted instead to become Rector of All Saints, Aldwinkle, in 1764, retaining the living until his death in 1820.

In 1774 he was appointed Chaplain to the Countess of Huntingdon. He insisted that no one other than a Church of England clergyman be allowed to preach in any chapel where he ministered. However, once the chapels forming the Countess of Huntingdon’s Connection were forced to register as dissenting chapels, Haweis withdrew from her service.

By her will, the Countess of Huntingdon left management of the Connexion to four trustees. The Principal Trustee appointed was, most unexpectedly, Thomas Haweis, who continued to preside over the Connexion, comprising at that time about 120 chapels, even though he continued as a Church of England priest. He made every effort to ensure the Connexion kept as close to the Church of England as was possible and that only the Book of Common Prayer was used. Many of these chapels became part of the Free Church of England in 1863.

Haweis was also one of the founding fathers of the Missionary Society.