This coming Sunday, we will celebrate communion as we usually do, on the first Sunday of the month. In October, however, the first Sunday is also known as “World Communion Sunday.” It was originally imagined as one Sunday in which all Christians, no matter what their tradition, would celebrate the sacrament of communion together.
As a kid, growing up at Cheney United Church of Christ, I always thought World Communion Sunday was kinda cool. I liked the idea of every Christian participating in communion on the same day.
As I grew up, I realized that for several traditions, Lutherans, Angligans, Catholics, Disciples, and others who have communion every Sunday, it wasn’t all that big of a deal. They couldn’t conceive of having worship without communion, anyway. Then I went to a Presbyterian church in Northern Ireland, and on the first Sunday in October, I wondered why we weren’t having communion. Apparently they didn’t get the memo. (Or perhaps they did, and decided to thumb their noses at the World Council of Churches. Northern Irish Presbyterians don’t react well to outsiders telling them what to do.)
At any rate, we still call it “World Communion Sunday,” whether or not every Christian is participating in the sacrament on Sunday. We can keep our focus on the beautiful diversity of Christian worship, and the ways we are all united in grace, as symbolized through communion. We know there are varying opinions about communion, how to do it, who’s eligible, when to do it, etc., but however communion is celebrated, it’s a reminder that Christ meets us in our brokenness, and surrounds us with grace. Christ meets us in our hunger, to fill us with food.
This Sunday, we’ll take a piece of bread, and dip it in grape juice (made by our upper elementary kids!), and we can remember the ways communion connects us to each other, and to the vast and diverse world that God has made. Even if some of our fellow Christians aren’t all that impressed, we can still be grateful for such a beautiful community.
Grace and peace,