Why is the Holy Communion Called the Eucharist

And He took bread, gave thanks and broke it and gave it to them . . .”  Luke 22:19

why do we call it Holy Eucharist

That word gave thanks is ‘Eucharisteo’ in the Greek.  I think Ann Voskamp was the one who made that word famous.  That giving thanks precedes the miracle, and just how many times Jesus gave thanks in the Word.

How charis means grace and chara means joy.

Yes, Christ heals our heart, but partaking in the Holy Communion is about healing the all of us, SPIRIT, SOUL AND BODY.  I’ve shared the Scriptural background for this here.

How we are made whole when we give thanks.   Isn’t that what the communion, the Eucharist is, a giving thanks for what Jesus did?

“He who sacrifices thank offerings honours me, and he prepares the way so that I may show him the salvation of God” Psalm 50:23

‘The depths of our thanks, is the heights of our joy, and the depths deepen the more we practice stopping and thanking.’ – Ann Voskamp

Eucharist is when we stop and give thanks and come to the communion table, where we are in common union.

Holy CommunionOne of my favourite songs by Matt Redman

But why do we call it the Holy Eucharist? 

A few thoughts from my father-in-law Geoff Ainsworth, retired pastor and studier of ancient Hebrew:

The word Eucharist is the Latin transliteration of the Greek word, εὐχαριστία (eucharistia), meaning “thanksgiving.” It seems that this is based on the Hebrew way of giving thanks for the Bread and the Wine, especially in relation to the Passover Meal. But in reality, these prayers of thanksgiving are given to God with greater frequency than Passover or during the other Feasts of the Lord. These blessings are said many times and on many occasions.  No wonder Jesus said to his Jewish disciples, ‘as often as you do this, do this in remembrance of me’. Each week on Friday night at the Shabbat meal and again at the closing of Shabbat the following evening there is the blessing of the bread and wine. Add to this the many other Feasts of the Lord and the many family meals where these blessing are said… The miracle is that this is still the practice for the Jewish families living in Israel today.

In Acts 2:42-46 we see the early Jewish believers in Yeshua (early Church) breaking bread from house to house. This blessing of thanksgiving is always said on such occasions so it is easy to see that these blessings are said many times in a week as the Messianic believers share these times “in remembrance of what Jesus did in and through His body (bread) and His blood (wine).”

Following is a quote from the book called “The Eucharist.” Chapter 1: How the Eucharist Evolved – this chapter looks at how the Eucharist has its roots in Judaism … Here is a short quote…

ROOTS IN JUDAISM

Because Christianity has its roots in Judaism, it was natural for the early prayers to be adaptations of Jewish blessings and prayers of thanksgiving. The prayers we use now at the presentation of the bread and wine clearly show their Jewish origin with the opening line, ‘Blessed are you Lord, God of all creation’. Likewise, it would have been natural for the early Christians to continue the practice of reading the scriptures at their gatherings. To this practice was added the reading of the letters of the founders of their Messianic  communities.

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About Lizzy Ainsworth

My name is Lizzy Ainsworth, an author in QLD Australia who blogs at Lizzy Ainsworth Books - Resources to Nourish the Spirit, Soul and Body.

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