Jesus instituted this communal meal at Passover time, at the last supper with his disciples before his death. At the Passover Festival people looked back to the deliverance from Egypt, and forward to the coming kingdom of God. The Lord's Supper, too, looks back. It reminds us, by the bread and wine, of the past event of Jesus' death. And it looks forward to the time when Jesus will come again. Paul told the Corinthian Christians "You proclaim the Lord's death until he comes."

During communion, the breaking and passing of the loaf of bread is a reminder that Jesus' body was given for us. The shared cup of wine is a token of the blood and death of Christ. His death was a sacrifice that sealed the new covenant-agreement between God and man, just as the old covenant was sealed by the blood of sacrificial oxen. So Jesus says, "this is my blood...which seals God's covenant."

    In the night
    in which he was betrayed,
    our Lord Jesus took bread,
    and gave thanks; broke it,
    and gave it to his disciples,
    saying: Take and eat;
    this is my body, given for you.

    Do this for the remembrance of me.

    Again, after supper,
    he took the cup, gave thanks,
    and gave it for all to drink,
    saying: This cup is
    the new covenant in my blood,
    shed for you and for all people
    for the forgiveness of sin.

    Do this for the remembrance of me.

    For as often as we eat
    of this bread
    and drink from this cup,
    we proclaim the Lord's death,
    until he comes.