And the table will be wide.
And the welcome will be wide.
And the arms will open wide to gather us in.
And our hearts will open wide to receive.
And we will come as children who trust
there is enough. And we will come
unhindered and free.
And our aching will be met with bread.
And our sorrow will be met with wine.
And we will open our hands to the feast without shame.
And we will turn toward each other without fear.
And we will give up our appetite for despair.
And we will taste and know of delight.
And we will become bread for a hungering world.
And we will become drink for those who thirst.
And the blessed will become the blessing.
And everywhere will be the feast! -Jan Richardson
This Sunday is World Communion Sunday, and as Jan Richardson puts it “Everywhere there will be the feast!” World Communion Sunday has probably come and gone without much fanfare at UCH in the past. But if you think about it, it’s actually pretty incredible. On World Communion Sunday, throughout the world, people are sharing the communion meal. People who share Communion everyday—people who share communion once a week—and people who share communion once a month, or once a year are joining together to affirm our love for God, and each other, and to celebrate our covenants, and the promise of God’s King/Kindom. We are called on this day to recognize that there is enough to share, and we all need to do some real soul searching and repentance about our complicity in why that does not happen.
Most assuredly, Christians and churches the world over understand Communion differently.
Some believe that the bread and wine of this meal actually becomes the body & blood of Christ. . .
Some believe that the bread and wine of this meal demonstrate that we are all part of one body. . .
Some believe that the bread and wine remind us of the sacrifice of Jesus. . .
Some believe the bread and wine instruct us to extend hospitality and service to others. . .
Some believe that the bread and wine are simply grain and grape that nurture our own bodies. . .
You are probably not surprised to hear me say that I am not going to tell you what communion means. There is not one universal way to understand the communion meal. That isn’t what World Communion Sunday is about. And that isn’t how we operate at UCH. But it is exciting to me that we can all come to this one open table and receive whatever it is we need on this day. God meets us here- and welcomes us- no matter who we are, where we come from, or where we are on life’s journey. And that is the thing that makes this meal sacred.
What does Communion mean to you? What does it mean to us at UCH and in the United Church of Christ? I invite you to give that some thought before you dip your bread in the cup on Sunday and are blessed by that holy act. It is my prayer, that we will all be blessed and will (as Jan Richardson suggests), “become the blessing” as we take what we have received out the doors and into the world.
On this day of celebrating God meeting us exactly where we are. May it be so. – Rev. Jeanne