By Matt Sapp
The first Sunday in October is World Communion Sunday. So this Sunday at Central Baptist Church, we’ll celebrate the Lord’s Supper in worship as thousands of churches and millions of Christians all over the globe do the same.
Over the years, I’ve developed a growing appreciation for the shared experience that will connect Christians all over the world. On World Communion Sunday, we remember that there is much more that unites us than divides us.
Much more Unites Us as Human Beings
In the Lord’s Supper, we share in the physical presence of God in the world—and reminded that the “word made flesh” took on human form! All human beings are made in the very image of God. There are no differences among us—no differences of faith or location or nationality or race or culture or creed—that are greater than the unity we find in our common Creator and our common likeness to God.
One of the great miracles of the Lord’s Supper is the power it has to exert a unifying influence even beyond our Christian faith.
Much More Unites Us as Global Christians
It’s easy to focus on the things that divide us: Theological differences expressed across denominations. Cultural differences expressed across continents. Language barriers. Some Christians, like in the United States, exert a dominant influence in their culture. Others forge their faiths as persecuted minorities. Many, as in post-Christian Europe, practice their faith in a sea of shoulder-shrugging indifference.
But all Christians everywhere celebrate communion. All Christians in every setting profess Jesus as Lord and Savior. This Sunday, as we participate in the shared practice of communion, we remember that.
Much More Unites Us as American Christians
The closer we get to home, the easier it is to find fault with our neighbor. It isn’t always easy to be a faithful Christian in America today, and the largest challenge to our faith comes from within. No secular agenda or threat from a competing faith does nearly as much to threaten Christianity in America as do the divisions we sow among ourselves.
But on World Communion Sunday, Baptist Christians and Methodist Christians and Progressive Christians and Conservative Christians and Fundamentalist Christians and Liberal Christians and Black Christians and White Christians and Asian Christians and Hispanic Christians and Christians from big cities and Christians from small towns and Christians from traditional Churches and Christians from contemporary churches and young Christians and old Christians will approach God’s table together to remember that the one thing we can agree on is the only thing that matters.
Christ’s instruction at the table, “Do this in remembrance of me,” means something. How often do we forget Christ in our disagreements?
Much More Unites Us as Local Church Members
Rarely do serious doctrinal issues divide us from those who sit next to us in the pew. More often, it’s petty grievances, long-held grudges, and remembered slights that wedge their way in between those closest to us. It’s the invitation not reciprocated. It’s the disagreement over the table decorations from six Thanksgivings ago. It’s the difference that bubbled up in finance committee or the errant comment during Sunday School that caught you the wrong way.
How small, though, do those differences become when we eat the bread and share the cup together? The Lord’s Supper reminds us that we are one in mission and purpose; one in our need for forgiveness and redemption; and one in the gift and blessing of salvation.
I can’t think of anything that our individual churches, our national faith communities, or our world need more than a sense of shared purpose and mutual goodwill. And I can’t think of anywhere more unifying than the communion table.
So find a church this Sunday that’s planning to celebrate the Lord’s Supper, and go to it.
If you’re in Newnan, I’d love to see you at Central.
Happy World Communion Sunday.