This Sunday we will be celebrating World Communion Sunday. Christians all around the globe will be eating the bread and drinking the cup of salvation. As a friend of mine once put it, “On this Sunday, the communion table is 25,000 miles wide.”
I have enjoyed the privilege of visiting the traditional site of the Upper Room several times. That, of course, is the place where it is believed Jesus shared His last supper with His disciples and instituted the sacramental meal we call Communion. I say I have visited the site but actually, the site I visited is built over the place where it is believed the original Upper Room existed. Still, each time I have visited I have found it to be a deeply moving and inspirational experience.
My mind goes back across the centuries to the scene that night when Jesus shared the passover meal with His disciples and through it tried to help them understand what He was doing for them and what would be happening in the hours ahead.
I love the way the Gospel of Matthew describes it.
“While they were eating, Jesus took a loaf of bread, and after blessing it he broke it, gave it to the disciples, and said, “Take, eat; this is my body.” Then he took a cup, and after giving thanks he gave it to them, saying, “Drink from it, all of you; for this is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins. I tell you, I will never again drink of this fruit of the vine until that day when I drink it new with you in my Father’s kingdom.” When they had sung the hymn, they went out to the Mount of Olives.” (Matthew 26:26-30)
In the same way Jesus gave himself to the disciples all those centuries ago, He gives Himself to us today. In the same way He offered them His love and forgiveness, He opens His arms and offers us His love and forgiveness today. In the same way He extended His grace, He makes His grace available to us.
The invitation is extended to all. It does not matter who you are, your nationality, race, gender, political views, what you have or have not done, what you do or do not possess, or what you have made of your life. Christ invites you to the table to experience the joy, peace and power of what He has to give. At this table we are united through Christ.
As we celebrate the Sacrament this Sunday, we invite the children to bring bread to the church and lay it at the altar as an expression of the fact that we are not alone in this experience. We are joining hearts and hands with all who love Christ all over the world.
When I was a teenager we used to sing a song with a line that expresses it well, “We are one in the Spirit; we are one in the Lord!” And so we are!