This Sunday marks the annual celebration of World Communion Sunday, in which many Christians from around the world go to the Lord’s table as a sign of the unity to which we are called. In preparation for this celebration, I read from Geoffrey Wainwright’s Methodists in Dialogue. This collection of essays and addresses is culled from the British Methodist’s decades of participation in the ecumenical movement, and broaches both general principles for ecumenical dialogue and the results of recent bilateral work (Methodists with Catholics/Lutherands/Episcopalians/etc.). This is a brilliant book from a teacher I truly enjoy and admire.
World Communion Sunday brings together themes – church unity and the Lord’s Supper – that Wainwright has himself written on extensively. I could think of no better way to recognize this Sunday than to quote from Wainwright, whose example shows us that one can be deeply embedded in a tradition and yet firmly committed to relationships and reconciliation with other communions:
…Christians involved in the ecumenical movement have already found it possible to discern sanctity also beyond one’s own ecclesial institution. If, then, according to the Russian Orthodox dictum, “the walls of separation do not reach up to heaven,” the recognition of graced lives in other Christian communities should encourage the divided Churches to make unity in Christ more manifest on earth. (Methodists in Dialogue [Nashville: Abingdon 1995], 33.)