In the closing week of our Lord’s life, he gathered with his disciples to share a meal. He took a piece of bread and said, “Take, eat; this is my body which is broken for you.” This was a picture of what would happen the next day when he was crucified. Then he took a cup and said, “Drink this, all of you, for it is my blood, the blood of the New Covenant shed to set many free from their sins.” We call it the Lord’s Supper because He instituted it.
Jesus went on to say, “Do this in remembrance of me.” This meal is also called the Lord’s Supper because it is a memorial to Him. We remember his betrayal and his sacrifice on our behalf. We remember Him! And as we do, our faith is nourished, our hope is kindled, and our strength is refreshed and renewed.
At a time when our world is splintered into so many factions and pieces; at a time when deep fissures of hatred, prejudice and terror divide nations and races, I can’t think of a better time for the Christian world to gather to celebrate World Communion Sunday, October 2, at 11:00 a.m.
A recent publication reports that “World Communion Sunday began in 1936 in the Presbyterian Church and was adopted by the Federal Council of Churches in 1940. Since then, the celebration has grown into an international ecumenical celebration of Christian unity. Donald Kerr adds, “The concept spread very slowly at the start. People did not give it a whole lot of thought. It was during the Second World War that the spirit caught hold, because we were trying to hold the world together. World Wide Communion symbolized the effort to hold things together, in a spiritual sense. It emphasized that we are one in the Spirit and the Gospel of Jesus Christ.”
WCS is a time to recall that around the world, in different languages, in churches of all sizes, with different traditions and customs, and with various forms of liturgy, the Lord’s Supper will be observed. WCS then is a meaningful sharing of the last meal Jesus experienced with his disciples and it is a way for Christians to experience different Christian traditions from around the world. The key word for WCS is communion, or unity. This unity is in Christ. Paul writes to the Corinthians, “Because there is one loaf, we who are many are one body, for we all partake of the same loaf.”
Here at Montgomery Hills, we will gather on October 2 for worship. Flags of every nations represented in our community of faith will be displayed. The Scripture for the day will be read in different languages. I will be speaking on the topic: “The Longest Table in the World.”
Jesus told us that people would come from east and west, north and south to sit at the table with him, and we do. And we will; as one. I encourage you to come and worship with us on October 2 as we share bread and cup together. We will be witnessing to our unity in Christ and with each other, and we will pray that our world will one day know this unity.
In Christian Love,
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Rev. Dr. Doris Barron-Shell