Tag Archives: world communion sunday

Geoffrey Wainwright and World Communion Sunday

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.)

When Liturgy Sucks

Today was world communion Sunday – a time for mainline Protestants to do in unison what we should not have to be told to do: celebrate the Lord’s Supper on Sunday morning.  But misunderstandings about this day abound, and for it to be taken seriously our churches must be taught.  For this to happen, we need serious resources, the opposite of which is the following (excerpted from the Methodists):

It is right, and a good and joyful thing,
Always and everywhere to give thanks to you,
Lord God Almighty, creator of heaven and earth.

You created for yourself a world filled with diversity
and blessed by your breath of life.
Rainbow colors bloom in spring,
summer breezes bring garden delight,
and now as Autumn comes our way
we see the work of your paintbrush upon every face and tree.

In mercy, while we still held to the chains of our winter,
of pride, self-righteousness, and historic egos
you loved us steadfastly and delivered us as babes
to reflect the beauty and diversity of your grace,
to bring us into a community of love, hope, and peace.

In particular, it is those last two that stink.  “Rainbow colors,” really?  This is not a day to celebrate our ethnic diversity.  It is a day to work together in hope for the unity that Jesus prayed for.  What a waste, United Methodist Church.  What a waste.