While the legal community may anxiously await the first Monday in October, those of us who follow the liturgical calendar look forward to the first Sunday in October–World Communion Sunday.
If you come from a worshipping community that observes communion (aka the eucharist or the Lord’s Supper) every Sunday, this may seem like an unnecessary observance. But many communities only take communion once a month, and some traditions may only gather at the table once or twice a year. So there is something special about having a day where Christians around the world are all coming to the table.
Of course, it gets dicey in that the Table of Jesus Christ is like so many other things in the church–we don’t all agree on who gets to participate. So even on World Communion Sunday, we’re not of one accord.
Communion only makes sense for me if everyone is welcome at the table. Jesus instituted the ritual at the last supper and said “do this in remembrance of me.” No qualifiers (or dis-qualifiers for that matter). Just do this. It grieves me every time I hear stories from people about not being invited to participate or flat out turned away from the table of Jesus Christ.
Even on World Communion Sunday, everyone is not welcome at every table. But for me, the day is a promise of what we could be…what we should be as a community in Christ. A reminder that all over the world, people who don’t look like us or talk like us or live like us are all coming to the Table. They are all invited, just as we are. And mere mortals don’t get to override the call of Jesus to come to the table.
If Jesus included the one who was to betray him, who are we to decide who does and doesn’t belong?
This Sunday, I hope you’ll make plans to gather around a table with friends, strangers, people you love and people you dislike. Get a glimpse of the kingdom. Be nourished for the journey ahead. Jesus invited us for a reason.
Rev. Anne Russ is an ordained pastor in the Presbyterian Church (USA), currently based in New York City. Doubting Believer is an online, inclusive and progressive Christian community. Follow us on Facebook and get emails to keep up with all that is happening.