In our reading from the Heidelberg Catechism today (Q. 76), we were taught what it means to partake of this sacrament – what it means to “eat the crucified body of Christ and to drink his shed blood.”
First, the catechism explains that to participate in this meal is to embrace with earnest faith the death of Christ on your behalf and to receive the forgiveness of sins and life everlasting.
The second answer from the catechism, which I’d like to focus on, is that to partake of Christ here and now is to be “united to Him more and more.”
But how is this possible when Christ is in heaven and we are clearly here on earth? We do not believe that He is physically present in these elements, so in what way are we actually being united to Him here by eating and drinking this bread and wine?
The answer is that the same Holy Spirit of God that dwells in the risen and reigning Christ dwells in you. You have a common life with Him, and this meal is a visible depiction of that communion. By eating this physical bread and drinking this wine, you are – by faith – being spiritually united to Christ’s body and blood which was offered for you.
And as this weekly memorial unites us individually to Christ, it also builds us up together more and more as members of His one Body.
So, as the catechism says, with “a trusting heart,” come, and welcome, to Jesus Christ.