Friday’s Essay - For World Communion Sunday

30Sep

Below is an essay that I sent to those on the Cove Presbyterian Church e-mailing list. You can find other essays, sermons, devotions, articles, and announcements on The Cove Community blog. You might also want to visit the congregational website (covepresbyterian.org) for more church information.

If you find this essay helpful, please consider sending an offering directly to Cove Presbyterian Church, 3404 Main Street, Weirton, West Virginia or through PayPal.

On Sunday, we’ll gather around our Lord’s table with Christians all over the world. And even though this is something that happens throughout the year, Sunday is special. You see, it’s a day set aside so that we can remember the unity we have as the Body of Christ. And for me, this is significant. Let’s face it, within the church, we may have different views about a variety of things, and yet we all see the bread and the cup as important. As a matter of fact, unlike baptism, it’s a celebration we all do during the year. And even though it’s generally seen as something that enhances us spiritually by strengthening our relationship with God, our celebration on Sunday will represent more. It’s a reminder of a gift that we all share, one that we didn’t earn and don’t deserve. When we eat the bread and drink from the cup together, we’re affirming once again our unity as men and women who’ve been called, inspired and then sent out to do Christ’s work in the world.

And I’ll tell you, I think this is important to do, particularly this year, because unity seems in short supply. I mean, here in the United States, we’re in the middle of a presidential election that’s redefining the words “nasty” and “superficial, one in which childish insults are traded with impunity and offering a vision for the future is much less important than digging up dirt from the past. But this isn’t the only sign that we’re becoming a divided country. Racial tension seems greater now than it’s been for years, with both sides digging in and tuning out. And native-born Americans seem justified blaming immigrants, legal and illegal, for taking job most residents didn’t want in the first place. And permeating it all is this undercurrent of fear and anger, and as generally happens, both emotions have been directed at people rather than the systems or the changed reality we now face, factors that may actually be more to blame. Sadly, not only has this divisiveness affected our nation, it’s also bled into the church. Even there, unity is being dissolved by the social currents we’re facing.

And for that reason, I think Sunday is crucially important. You see, even though the society around us may be encouraging us to stand against others, global communion challenges us to gather with our brothers and sisters, without regard for politics and ideology, without respect to race or gender, and without resentments about what may have been lost in the past or may be lost in the future. When we gather around a table that stretches around the world, we’re acknowledging a shared focus that’s far stronger than anything that might be pulling us a part. On Sunday, we affirm our oneness as the Body of Christ, a unity that we can carry with us as we live within a divided world.

And so, as we gather on Sunday morning, let’s put aside all that stuff that has divided us, and let’s focus on our unity as brothers and sisters in Christ. And then, let’s be challenged to take the next step and to use this unity to make our country and world a better place for all people.
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