This is a topic about which I can write only with great fear and trembling. I feel like the Children of Israel trembling at the foot of the mountain when Moses was visiting with God and receiving the Ten Commandments. So serious was the moment they were consumed with the fear of the Lord and they dare not come near on threat of death. While in the mercy of God I do not fear death, yet the fear of the Lord causes me to tread with great caution. The sacrament of which I write is that of the Eucharist and that miraculous event when the bread and the wine become the Body and Blood of the Lord Jesus Christ. This is heaven's greatest gift and earth's most marvelous moment.
Two Legged Stool
I was raised in a Pentecostal church and spent sixty years of my life in that movement. We were strong on the Scripture and the infilling of the Spirit. But not once during that time do I remember me or any other Pentecostal ministers ever mentioning the Sacraments, and certainly not the Sacrament of the Eucharist. It was like trying to sit on a two legged stool; hard to fully rest and a challenge to keep one's balance. No amount of Spirit-filled worship or God-anointed and revelatory preaching and teaching of Scripture could make up for that lack. The Sacraments are the essential missing element.
To understand the value of the Sacrament of the Eucharist one need not mine the depths of profound Catholic theology (not that it would not be a good thing to do!); one only need to read the simple but astounding words of Scripture.
Eat My Flesh, Drink My Blood
Jesus said to them, “Truly, truly I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink His blood, you have no life in you. Whoever eats My flesh and drinks My blood has eternal life. And I will raise him up on the last day. For My flesh is food indeed, and My blood is drink indeed. Whoever eats My flesh and drinks My blood remains in Me, and I in him. As the living Father sent Me, and I live because of the Father, so whoever feeds on Me also will live because of Me. This is the bread which came down from heaven, not as your fathers ate manna and died. He who eats this bread will live forever John 6:53 - 58 MEV
Then He took the bread, and when He had given thanks, He broke it and gave it to them, saying, “This is My body which is given for you. Do this in remembrance of Me.” In like manner, He took the cup after supper, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in My blood which is shed for you. Luke 22:19-20 MEV
It could not be clearer. Jesus said we have no life in Him except we eat His Flesh and drink His Blood, and then he indicated the bread and wine and said, "This is my flesh, this is my blood."
This is why, after the prayer of consecration, we go forward not to receive "the elements" and not just to participate in a memorial. We go forward and receive Jesus Christ - body and blood, soul and divinity - under each of the appearances of bread and wine in the Eucharist as our spiritual nourishment, and the source of our spiritual life.
When He had given thanks, He broke it and said, “Take and eat. This is My body which is broken for you. Do this in remembrance of Me.” In the same manner He took the cup after He had supper, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in My blood. Do this, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of Me.” As often as you eat this bread and drink this cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death until He comes. 1 Corinthians 11:24-27 MEV
Even as a Pentecostal when I saw this simple life changing truth and conducted the communion service with this in mind, it was totally transformative. My prayer and my words were infused with a power I had never known. I was participating in a miracle beyond compare.