World Communion Sunday - celebrated the first Sunday in October -- is one of the most venerable of "special Sundays." The day has taken on new relevancy and depth of meaning in a world where globalization often has undermined peace and justice -- and in a time when fear divides the peoples of God's earth. On this day, we celebrate our oneness in Christ, the Prince of Peace, in the midst of the world we are called to serve -- a world ever more in need of peacemaking. SEmD National Council of Churches
This Sunday, with Christians around the world, we will gather around the Lord's table of grace and new life. World Communion Sunday began 80 years ago in 1933 by Dr. Hugh Thompson Kerr, moderator of the Presbyterian Church's national governing body, the General Assembly, and a pastor of Shadyside Presbyterian Church in Pittsburgh.
At that time, Communion most often was celebrated only four times a year. While churches now observe Communion more frequently, World Communion Sunday is celebrated internationally as a reminder that whenever we share the bread and cup, we gather around the table with brothers and sisters of many languages, cultures and nations.
Around the world, our daily life centers on food. In China, people greet each other with "Have you eaten yet?" In Haiti, food is shared as an essential act of hospitality. A local saying is "cooked food has no owner."
At Hays First Presbyterian on Sunday, we will use music, images and bread from China, the Middle East and Haiti as we reflect on the people and concerns of each of these areas, learn about opportunists to take action and commit to prayer.
We particularly are looking forward to sharing pictures from Steven Chen, our deacon living in Tianjin, China.
The first Sunday of October has become a time when Christians in every culture break bread and pour the cup to remember and affirm Christ as the head of the church. On that day, they remember they are part of the whole body of believers.
Christians celebrate the Communion liturgy in as many ways as there are congregations.
World Communion Sunday can be both a profound worship experience and a time for learning more about our wider community of faith.
Of course, there's no reason why every Sunday shouldn't be World Communion Sunday. Every Lord's Day is an occasion to celebrate, in word and sacrament, the resurrection of the Lord -- good news for all the world.
The Rev. Celeste Lasich is pastor at Hays First Presbyterian Church.