My friend Kris is writing a journal entry every day in 2010. As she posts them via Facebook, I have been reading her entries almost daily. Sometimes entries are about work, or being the parent of a marching band student (which this band nerd and band director’s wife really enjoys!). Sometimes entries offer contemplation on the weightier issues in life, and, well sometimes, it’s just on the weighty issue of Tootsie Roll candy in the cubicle next door! One such entry combined both work antics and food news recently and it was predicated by a thought for the day: Food is our common ground, a universal experience. ~James Beard
This next Sunday, October 3, 2010 is “World Communion Sunday.” In light of the observance, these words offer confirmation of why it is important to share this “common ground” as Christians.
With origins in Presbyterian congregations as far back as 1936, World-Wide Communion Sunday, as it was called back then, was initiated with the purpose of bringing together churches of all denominations in the United States and around the world to affirm Jesus Christ as head of the greater “Church.” Today, denominations observe this sacrament in a number of different ways, in various settings and practices. Some share in this holy sacrament weekly, others only once a month, and still others only on special celebration days of the church, yet all recognize that our host for our gathering is Jesus Christ.
Christians of all creeds, colors and denominations are invited to a table together. It matters not how we met the host or who we know that knows someone who knows him. We are not invited because of our merits and we are certainly not included because our theology matters to him, for he invites us one and all regardless of and in spite of our theology. We are all present because we have accepted the invitation to the table of Communion and as such we can celebrate our “common” “union” in Christ, to Christ, through Christ and with Christ.
Few events in recent days have dared to affirm any common ground in this “us against them,” sensationalistic society. In a note written in 2007 to her community of faith, Carol L. Pavlik of the United Churches of Christ wrote these words:
World Communion Sunday may come and go without much fanfare, foregoing celebrity hype and lacking attention-grabbing scandal. But in an increasing [sic] globalized world, where differences can be divisive, sharing in the elements of the Lord's Supper is the quiet constant that unites believers of Christ.
In a time when fear seizes the hearts of many peoples of the world, we are given an opportunity to respond to an invitation borne out of love, hope and peace. What great joy awaits us when we celebrate with Christians in every culture and denomination, breaking the bread and pouring the cup together this week. We will indeed be a whole body of believers –One in Christ. As we transcend the divisions of this world and look to Christ in that moment, surely he who is the Prince of Peace will be well pleased in his children.
Thanks be to God.