This is the high point of Sunday worship. After the Prayer of Consecration we are invited to leave our seats and proceed up to the high altar rail. Here, we kneel to receive our communion.
(We have no hard and fast rules about this. If you feel unable to get up to the high altar, you are welcome to receive communion where you are sitting in church. Or, if you would rather not kneel at the altar rail, you can remain standing to receive your communion.)
However, we do encourage you to come up to the high altar and kneel at the rail, and thereby to show something of the symbolism of what is going on. We come in humble obedience, knowing that we are not absolutely right with God (‘we are not worthy to gather up the crumbs from under thy table’). And yet God grants us the immense privilege of partaking in this holy meal of fellowship with Jesus.
At Holy Trinity, just behind the high altar we have the image of Jesus presiding at his last supper.
In my mind I picture that last supper table extending out from both ends, enveloping the whole Christian Church that is worshipping on that Sunday, and then beyond that, back in time, embracing the Church down the ages – back to Jesus.
We, with the whole Church around the world and down the ages, are sharing with Jesus, the bread and the wine that he has just consecrated. Communion is our great Sacrament of Unity. This, though, is just one dimension of the Eucharist. Beyond it we have our unity with Christ himself in the deep mystery of what Jesus meant when he said, ‘This is my body’ and ‘this is my blood.’ We take and eat both the bread and the wine, not just sharing with Christ, but becoming the body of Christ ourselves.