World Communion Sunday Unites Us All
Dearest friends in Christ Jesus:
Right about the time you receive this issue of The Current we will be right up against World Communion Sunday. While it can be acknowledged and celebrated at anytime during the year, many congregations will emphasize it on the first Sunday in October. Our church recommends Oct. 2 this year.
This special emphasis is more than 70 years old. It started in one congregation with a vision to live more deeply into the unity that the Lord’s Supper calls us to. The vision spread through the ecumenical community though each church and denomination (if a church is a part of one) is free to make it special contextually.
I have experienced many well done creative approaches to acknowledging both a real and mystical sense of unity with other Christians on World Communion Sundays. Indeed I sense this unity whenever we gather at the Lord’s Table. No doubt you have had similar experiences of creative worship leadership that have helped you draw close to the Risen Christ and to sisters and brothers with whom you share remarkable similarities. Through the gift of bread broken and wine poured notable dissimilarities have been acknowledged but not seen as barriers to relationship.
Maybe that is the point.
When I read and pray through the Great Thanksgiving one of the things that ceaselessly shouts to me is the heart of God yearning for unity. All of the places in my life that reflect alienation (from God, neighbor, creation, family etc.) are laid bare and raw before the cross. At the cross my propensity and inclination toward words, deeds and attitudes that divide rather than unite are exposed. But only when the scandal of division and disunity is exposed can it begin to be healed.
So we come again and again to the Table of the Lord to confess, to be forgiven, healed and ultimately sent into the church and the world to rejoice in God’s power and love to heal our essential disunity and to convey the gift of unity in word and deed to the whole world. In a season in the church, this nation and the nations when we all feel the tug of so much that pulls us apart may our awareness of another tug hold sway until we are re-membered. “Draw me nearer, nearer blessed Lord…”
Your servant in Christ Jesus,
†Gregory Vaughn Palmer