Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,
This Sunday is World Communion Sunday and our scripture today comes from the Apostle Paul’s words just after he writes what has become the “words of institution” we say before we serve the bread and cup:
“Everyone should look into his own heart before he eats the bread and drinks the cup. If someone eats the bread and drinks the cup without recognizing the body, then he is judged guilty by eating and drinking.” 1 Corinthians 11: 28-29
World Communion Sunday is a tradition that has been with us since 1933. It began through the efforts of Rev. Hugh Kerr at Shadyside Presbyterian Church, Pittsburgh, PA, and spread throughout the denomination. When asked how the tradition spread from a handful of churches to a world-wide practice, Rev. Kerr’s son Donald explained it this way: “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.”
“We were trying to hold the world together.” What an amazing way to describe the simple action we will take this Sunday when we eat and drink together with the sure and certain knowledge that brothers and sisters all over the world are eating and drinking in Christ’s name as well. Paul says we’ve got to “recognize the body” if we are going to faithfully have communion. World Communion offers us the best opportunity we have to recognize Jesus’ body all over the world and, in so doing, to help hold the world together. As we prepare to participate in this honor we have been given, please pray for Christians around the world, especially our church friends in Haiti, Malawi and India.
Heavenly Father, you have created all things and called them good. Help us to see your good creation all around us and throughout your world. Help us also to recognize our brothers and sisters around the world—one family—as we worship together on Sunday. We pray for their ministries this day and for their faithfulness. Keep them safe and make them strong. By the power of your name we pray. Amen.
Christ’s Peace be with you all,