Isaiah 55, Ephesians 4:1-6
October 5, 2014
Today is World Communion Sunday! This is the day we celebrate this sacrament – the sacrament of the Lord’s Supper – with our Christian brethren and “sistren” all over the world. And remember, this is not a matter of us all raising the cup of Christ simultaneously. We do so in a rolling fashion, all around the world, from east to west, from time zone to time zone. After this service, we’ll hand the celebration to our Midwestern brethren and “sistren,” and so on. So, when I say in the liturgy, “They shall come from east and west… and sit at table…” I hope those words will have a little extra meaning today!
This is World Communion Sunday! This is the day we remember that we are part of something much larger than just this group of people and this building. This is the day we remember that we are part of the Church – the great “Ecclesia” – the greatest, most influential organization of people that has ever existed on this planet. And nothing else even comes close!
This is World Communion Sunday! This is the day we recall together the sacrifice and resurrection of Jesus the Christ. We commemorate that here at this table, and we remember it here in these elements.
This is World Communion Sunday! This is the day we remember that, despite our differences, there truly is “one Lord, one faith, one Baptism, one God and father of us all, who is above all and through all and in all!”
I hope we can all be thinking such thoughts here today, and for the rest of the day. For this celebration is only half over. It will continue far into the night – until those in the last time zone raise this cup – in Alaska, and somewhere far out in the pacific ocean. And I hope we will be thinking such thoughts, because when we think of “the Church,” we do tend to think mainly of that which is inside these walls. This is the whole church to us. We don’t often think about our brethren and our “sistren” around the world, or even down the street, do we!
Sometimes we think the same way about our lives. We think only about the little world in which we live. That happens all too easily, doesn’t it! I know sometimes I can get so focused on what I have to do on any given day, that my whole world can be right there on my “To Do List.” I can get to the end of the day, and most, and sometimes all, of those things are crossed off. (And often a new list is begun!) But then I find myself wondering, “is there something I missed – something that wasn’t on that paper?”
Once again, I don’t think I’m any different than you. I know there are those who expect me to be. But I’m like you. And sometimes I wonder how much we do miss when our world is too small and when we’re only focused on our little part of it.
When a student is learning to fly, one of the things they have to learn is to get “outside of the plane.” Now, I’m not talking about skydiving or wing walking or anything like that. I’m talking about the natural tendency to stay focused only on what’s going on inside the cockpit. And there are many things to think about in that little space! But it’s important to focus on what’s outside, as well. Because there are some important things out there! Things like other planes, towers, clouds, the ground. And there are also things out there you don’t want to miss, things like beautiful lakes and valleys and sunsets!
It’s the same for us as a church. It’s the same for us as individuals. We need to think “outside of the plane.” We need to think outside of our own little world. We need to think of ourselves as part of the big picture. We need to be proud that we are part of the history of this thing called “The Church.” That’s why history is so important. It’s not just so that we know where we’ve come from, or so we can learn from it – not that those things aren’t important. For those who fail to learn from history are condemned to repeat it! But history is important in that it gives us the ability to see what we are a part of!
So, for at least one day, we think globally as the church. Maybe that will help us to expand our vision. Maybe that will help us better understand this great movement of which we are a part – the Church of Jesus Christ. And maybe it will help us as individuals to look beyond our own little world, to see the needs of others.
As we think of all that today, as we think of the Church around the world, I hope we see that it’s all about being “One in the Spirit.” We are “One” as a congregation. We are “One” with all our fellow Christians in the body of Christ around the world. And together today – as One – we come to this table.
Eternal God, we thank you for calling us to be your people. We thank you for the long history of your people, that “Great Cloud of Witnesses,” who have preceded us, and for the saints of the church universal who surround us. Help us indeed to think globally, not just so we can see the magnitude of your kingdom on earth, but also so that we can join the effort to minister to a greater world in need, and to shine the light of Jesus Christ into all the darkness, for we pray in his name, Amen.