Yesterday we celebrated World Communion Sunday at my church. The tradition of WCS began in 1933, at a Shadyside church right here in Pittsburgh, to promote Christian unity and ecumenical cooperation. It was adopted in 1940 by the National Council of Churches encouraging Christian churches worldwide to celebrate our Christian unity even if our nations are at odds with each other. 1933 was the darkest year of the Great Depression. The Nazis and their fascist reign of terror swept over Europe and threatened the entire world. The prevailing mood was anxiety—fear about economics, fear about politics and fear about the future. Seventy-eight years later, we still face terrorism and anxiety over economics, politics and the future. However, instead of a single church, countless Christian churches around the globe met around the Lord’s Table yesterday in unity, claiming their heritage as children of God and their faith in Jesus Christ as Savior as their bond.
I wish I could say that we made a difference in the world, made a statement the world could not ignore, changed the hearts of world leaders who last week were set on power, wealth, and property above all else at any cost, and now have their hearts set on Jesus and seek only God’s will in their lives and in their lands. I wish I could say that my own country’s leaders have had a change of heart and are wearing sackcloth and ashes in repentance seeking God’s guidance in the oversight of this land. I can’t even say that.
I don’t know if it will ever contribute to the world becoming a better place, but I do know that for one day – I was very aware that my little 700 member congregation is just a very small part of “The Church” – Christ’s bride. And in the "Church" which I am a part of, there are brothers and sisters who had to meet in secret to celebrate our unity yesterday. There were some, beaten and dying in prison because they will not renounce their faith in Jesus, who celebrated our unity in Christ yesterday. Please pray for them. There are missionaries all over the world who have answered God’s call to go to, sometimes hostile, foreign lands who celebrated our unity. There were brothers and sisters who had no bread or wine, who joined us at the Lord’s Table to claim their unity with us in whatever ways the Lord provided for them. At the Lord’s Table, we are united, all equally sharing in his love and grace, all equally blessed in his Spirit and equally called to share the good news of his death and resurrection for the forgiveness of sins. For one day, we made a strong statement to God that we are His people and that He is our God, and if the rest of the world saw it – good! For me, it was an affirmation of God’s sovereignty in my life and that I am one among many in God’s family – no matter where I am, there is family nearby for me to lean on and I am there for them to lean on me.
If you believe that Jesus Christ is your Lord and Savior – you are my family. Please know that I pray for you – that you will live and grow in God’s will and that he will strengthen you in your faith. May the Spirit guide and protect you and the peace of Christ fill you. Amen.
About the pictures:
North Park (September 2011)