What is World Communion Sunday?
This Sunday, when there are so many divisions in our politics, country, and the world, Christians worldwide participate in a remarkable symbol of healing. The table renders moot the divisions that we often think are so important. The way we practice communion varies between traditions and congregations. The way we think about the Lord’s Supper may be different. And the frequency of our celebration may be different, but we are one at the Lord’s table.
We don’t all have to believe the same way, or practice the same way, or do church the same way to be one. It turns out that God’s table is more significant than our differences, and all are welcome. When God’s people gather at God’s table, we overcome the distinctions of class, culture, gender, and nationality. For a moment, we catch a glimpse of God’s beloved community, where all are equal, and everyone has enough.
What Scripture Teaches
In 1 Corinthians, the Apostle Paul reminds a divided congregation that communion is when we are particularly mindful of other people’s needs. At the Lord’s table, we wait for one another. At the Lord’s table, we share. At the Lord’s table, we serve one another. At the Lord’s table, we welcome one another. At the Lord’s table, we make room for one another. At the Lord’s table, we express our love for one another. At the Lord’s table, we see the face of God in one another. At the Lord’s table, we lay down our resistance and arrogance and self-righteousness for one another. At the Lord’s table, we experience God’s shalom, and we renew our desire to share it.
Communion in the United Church of Christ (UCC)
In our tradition, the loaf is basic bread. We fill the cup with grape juice. When worshiping online, you are free to use whatever symbolizes the bread and cup to you. Both are symbols with dual meanings. The loaf represents Christ’s body, his literal body, and the church body. One single loaf is a symbol of our oneness. It is blessed so that it may be a blessing to others. We break the loaf to remind our willingness to be broken for others. We give it freely, and we receive it with gladness. And at that moment, we know we are loved and belong.
The cup, too, is a symbol. It reminds us that the life Christ calls us to live is sacrificial. We are not here for our glory or gain, but for goodness and love, which, at times, is costly. The cup is also a symbol of the unbreakable covenant of God’s love. There is nothing we do to deserve it, and there is nothing we can do to break it. It is ours to receive and remember. During World Communion Sunday, we are reminded that God loves our neighbors and even our enemies with that same love.
Breaking bread together is a sacred act. At the Lord’s table, we rehearse for what is possible at our tables. Skeptics often derided Jesus for eating with sinners and outsiders. To eat with someone was to show acceptance. And yet Jesus at with tax collectors, prostitutes, and all other kinds of misfits and rejected individuals. The last supper Jesus shared with his disciples was one in a long line of examples of the power of eating together.
World Communion Sunday is a Symbol of Unity
Jesus often told stories about banquets and feasts where the doors were thrown open to the least and the last. He fed the multitudes with a few loaves of bread and a couple of fish, and everyone ate their fill!
The Lord’s table and the Lord’s supper is symbolic of all those meals and stories, and examples. And the Lord’s table is extended when we eat together like we will after this service.
What is World Communion Sunday? It’s the Sunday that we remember we are one.