2013 World Communion Sunday: October 6, 2013
In the resources for this service you will see an adapted form of the Invitation and the Communion Prayer in Form One of the Minister’s Manual (Faith and Life Press, Herald Press, 1998), a core resource of ministers in Mennonite Church Canada. The adaptation tries to keep the emphasis on Christ dying for us while highlighting what his death led to, the resurrection and the already coming kingdom.
Breaking bread on World Communion Sunday highlights neglected aspects of the meaning of ‘communion’. To commune is to be made one with Christ and his body, the church. It is good to seek oneness in the congregation, but today our horizon is much broader for we celebrate and seek the oneness of the whole communion of saints on earth and in heaven.
In the early church an image arose that described what happens when we become one in Christ. It says that as grain must be ground into flour to bake bread, as grapes must be crushed to yield juice, so members of the body of Christ must yield themselves in order to become something they could never be on their own. This is true of individuals, congregations, and denominations. Today, in the breaking of bread, may we yield some small portion of our autonomy, our self-sufficiency, our self- righteousness so that we can get closer to all those who name the name of Jesus. In this Holy Supper we also offer one another and Christians around the globe gifts God has given us for others’ good.
Today, in the power of the Holy Spirit, we commit ourselves to mend the broken body of Christ. To help us in that awesome undertaking, we suggest Ephesians 2:11-22 as the preaching text. Here Paul describes the ancient alienation between Gentiles and Jews. The hostility between them was like the wall that ran through Berlin or that runs through Palestine. The church is the place where Christ has broken down these walls of hostility by creating in himself one new humanity. That is what we celebrate today, yet with trembling hearts and hands, remembering the times when we have rebuilt the walls Christ has demolished.
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