After another string of disheartening weeks in regards to the news we continue to receive about violence both at home and around the world, I needed the reminders that this past Sunday’s worship offered. On October 2, Christians around the world gathered around one Table in millions of locations as the Lord’s Supper was celebrated in a multitude of languages. If only for one day, every Christian was reminded that despite our brokenness we truly are the ONE Body of Christ.
World Communion Sunday was highlighted in an especially beautiful way at Westminster Presbyterian Church in Greensboro, NC. In addition to celebrating communion in multiple languages, the congregation also celebrated with the children as every third grader received their very first “real” Bible. Just as each person is called into God’s service by name, each child was called by name to stand at the front of the sanctuary with their parents. As they received their Bibles, Dr. Lynn Turnage (Director of Christian Education, M.A. 1982) encouraged each child and family to do three things:
1) For the next month, leave the Bible in a common area in the house where the family gathers regularly so that each family remember can look through and read it as they feel led.
2) Write in your Bible! Mark the things they like and have fun with it. Use colored pencils and write a date when you mark scriptures so you can look back one day and remember what was important to you.
3) Ask your friends to mark their favorite verses when they come over and ask your family members and people at church to mark their favorites as well!
After each child received their Bible and Lynn’s challenge, the congregation was reminded of the vows they have made at the baptism of each child, and once again answered:
“Do you, as members of the church of Jesus Christ, promise to guide and nurture these children,
by word and deed, with love and prayer, encouraging them to know and follow Christ and
to be faithful members of their church?”
In this moment, every voice was raised in recognition and reaffirmation of our baptismal vows to grow and lead one another in the way that Christ taught.
As we gathered around the Table, we celebrated and recognized that we did not come alone but came with Christians from all around the world, just as those who came before us and those who would follow us. The Words of Institution were shared in German, Dutch, Spanish, and a Ghanaian dialect as Rev. Ernie Thompson (M. Div., 1988) and I broke the bread and poured the wine. The elderly came to the Table and the children came, those who are both strong in faith and weak in faith, those who need comforting and those who comfort… two dogs even came along side their owners!
In a broken and hurting world, I think we all needed a moment of celebration and peace this past Sunday and I pray that each person found hope and reconciliation around the Lord’s Table. I pray that each person was offered some reminder that each of us has been called by name, no matter where we find ourselves in life. I pray that God did hear true rejoicing, in every language and on every continent, as each child of God gathered together if only for a brief moment.
How did your congregation celebrate “World Communion Sunday”?
Rev. Jordan B. Davis
Church Relations Officer