On October 7, we at Community Wesleyan, Kirkville, will join Christians around the world in the celebration of World Communion Sunday. This year, I did a little research to see what some others were saying about the observance of this special Sunday. It was a great way to use the spirit of the day to express its meaning. Here are some of the inspiring thoughts I found expressed by church leaders of other denominations.
It originated when the world was very divided in order to emphasize unity in Christ
World Communion Sunday originated in the Presbyterian Church (USA). In 1936, for the first time, the first Sunday in October was celebrated in Presbyterian churches in the United States and overseas. From the beginning, it was planned so that other denominations could make use of it. After a few years, the idea was welcomed by the wider Christian community as an opportunity to move beyond historical and theological differences and worship together. On this first Sunday of October, we celebrate our oneness –our communion – in Christ, in the midst of a world still in need of the reconciling unity of Christ. The Middle English roots of the word “communion” refer to having something in common and to being in a relationship. On this particular Sunday, it is a blessing to be intentionally aware of being “in communion,” that is, sharing Christ Jesus, our Lord and Savior, whom we have “in common” with other Christians, congregations, and denominations around the world.(quoted from http://resources.mennonitechurch.ca/ResourceView/43/14412)
It reminds us that in order to overcome the divisions of our world we will need to look beyond ourselves and receive from Jesus
World Communion Sunday is an event that bridges denominations and spotlights our commonality in the Body of Christ. This world would be so much better off if we looked for that which we hold in common rather than our differences. Holy Communion, rightly observed, reunites the Church. This is the pastor’s hope when he or she holds up the loaf of bread and says, “Because there is one loaf, we who are many, are one body in Christ.”
Therefore, our focus is in how to get over our differences and find common power to live in Christ. The Eucharist is a time of positive celebration, reunion, prayer for healing, and a sacred time to put others before ourselves
World Communion Sunday was intended as an occasion when persons would be invited to the Lord’s Table on the same Sunday in many different churches and denominations, regardless of how often those churches and denominations normally observe communion. The Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) participates in this witness and celebrates the fact that many other denominations are also inviting persons to the Lord’s Table on the first Sunday in October. (from a blog by Rev. Tim McClendon found at http://www.umcgiving.org/site/apps/nlnet/content3.aspx?c=qwL6KkNWLrH&b=7080293&ct=11520565¬oc=1.)
We may have different liturgies and customs but we have only one Lord and Savior who unites us
As Disciples, we proclaim the message of unity at Christ’s Table every Sunday of the year, not just on World Communion Sunday. We gather with other Christians every Sunday and declare our oneness in Christ as we take our place at the Table of our Lord. There are many different approaches to the serving and partaking of communion. Different elements are used. Different liturgies exist for communion in different churches. Communion is placed in a variety of positions in different orders of worship. But the message of God’s love for us, made known in Christ, is proclaimed boldly through our worship at the Table. It is this love that we proclaim at the Table that has the power to heal wounds, whether they are the wounds within our own spirits, within our families, within our communities, and between nations. God’s love makes us One. In my view, we are not being truly faithful in our worship unless we are proclaiming that message.
May we find joy in proclaiming that message with passion on World Communion Sunday and on all of the other Sundays of the year. Come to think of it, why be restricted to Sundays? Let us proclaim this good news every day that God gives us breath.
(Taken from Resources for World Communion Sunday: October 7, 2012 Prepared by the Council on Christian Unity, Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) accessed at http://www.disciples.org/ccu/PDF/World%20Communion%20Sunday%202012b.pdf)