September 25, 2020
World Communion Sunday
October 4th marks World Communion Sunday this year. This is an occasion for Christian communities around the world to feel our connection with one another, our bond in the church universal, as we choose to celebrate communion on a common day. While in my tradition, the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ), we come to the table each and every week in worship, there are some traditions that only observe this sacrament once a month, or four times a year, or even once a year. This special Sunday, that began back in 1933, provides an opportunity for us to celebrate our common heritage and faith no matter what our usual practices may be.
I know that the celebration of communion, of the thanksgiving that is experienced in the Eucharist, has been a challenge for some of our Christian communities during this pandemic. Ecclesiastical structure and norms of celebration have faced scrutiny and challenge, as leaders have tried to discern how best to be faithful to their traditions, and yet to meet the needs of the people who desire to celebrate this special meal. I hope that leaders have been able to imagine how best to celebrate communion, so that we can indeed feel our connection on this unique Sunday.
One of the ways in which we attempt to feel that worldwide connection in our worship time is by drawing upon the wonderful diversity of our church members, inviting people to share the Lord’s Prayer in languages that represent the history and culture of these amazing people. It never fails to move me to hear the music of these many languages. If you are not blessed with such diversity, you can still ask a high school student or two to share the prayer in whatever languages they may be studying, or ask someone who studied a language years ago to practice a little and to share the prayer, or you can even download the prayer in various languages and bring it to life in that way. In whatever way you choose to do it, this adds a wonderful element to worship, especially on this day.
This year I am also trying something new, attempting to include art items that represent different cultures in our celebration time. Of course, it would be ideal to bring these items in person, and I hope to encourage exactly that next October, but for now I am inviting people to take photographs of art pieces that represent their culture, and to send those to me so that I can weave them into the worship time. I am also requesting that they send a brief description with the photograph, in case it is an item that I am unfamiliar with at this point. Indeed, I hope that I will learn more about the cultures of my members through this sharing.
It is easy to become comfortable with worshipping in the same ways from one week to the next. That desire for familiarity and simplicity can be especially appealing in this time when worship is so different for most of us. Yet, it is creativity that keeps worship fresh, that engages our minds and our spirits more fully, that opens doors of experience for those who share in the moments of celebration that we have together. Special Sundays provide unique opportunities for creativity. And, if your members are resistant to changes in worship, then, by adding in elements that are unique to a special Sunday such as this, people can see the beauty and joy of these additions and perhaps become more inclined to accept other things that you attempt to introduce into worship. Either way, such creativity can make for a wonderful day of celebration with churches around the world.
Welcome to my website. I hope you will discover a connection to the life of small churches, and the richness that the arts can bring to these churches.