Rev. Jan Richardson created a painting she entitled “The Best Supper” that I think of it each year on World Communion Sunday. There is a circular table, with loaves of bread and other foods and there are people from all around the world sitting at the table, so that it looks like a globe with people all around. They are all looking upwards, as if at Jesus. If you would like to see it, you may click here.
Today, in traditional worship, our altar guild created a beautiful display that reminds us of the people throughout the world who are sharing this meal with us today. There is Naan (India), Pita (Middle East), Kaiser (Austria), Bagel (Poland), Tortilla (Mexico), Ciabatta (Italy), Irish Soda Bread (Ireland), Baguette (France), Rye/Pumpernickel (Germany).
World Communion Sunday is a wonderful opportunity to look beyond ourselves and remember that Jesus came for the whole world. In some ways it is a reminder to be humble; we are not the only ones. In other ways, World Communion Sunday is a glimpse of how heaven might be: when we move through its streets we will certainly encounter folks who on earth were of other nationalities, cultures and ways, perhaps even people we considered our enemies, and we will all be in heaven together. In one of his books, Max Lucado warns us to love now so that we don’t have culture shock in heaven. World Communion Sunday seems a good day to be intentional about caring for God’s people everywhere.
One way that we as a church share Jesus’ love with the world is through Operation Christmas Child. This week, boxes will be available for you to fill with gifts for children all over the world. We will bring the boxes back mid November for blessings before shipping.
On Thursday, I was able to drive Hope Circle to Columbia to visit Epworth Children’s Home, a mission of the South Carolina UMC. It was an extremely hot day, but we still had fun and learned a lot. Since 1896, Epworth Children’s Home has cared for children from all over South Carolina. It has evolved with the times, but has always but the well being of children and families first. We learned that 82 children between 12 and 18 reside there now, ascurrent state regulations do not allow younger children to be in group homes. However, there is a separate building and program for mothers and their children, where mothers take classes and go through counseling to learn to be parents. Many of these moths are very young and they are all struggling themselves. There is a program for young adults (18-23) that is an Independent Living program for young people who have graduated, and have no home ase. These young people are either working full time or going to school full time. That’s only the beginning of what they do. They are also establishing hubs throughout the state to work with churches to foster children.
Moreover, we discovered that the famous Epworth Ice Cream is available online and in stores! Look here. We also found a store, Crave, right across the street from Epworth that sells Epworth ice Cream! What a yummy way to support a beautiful ministry!
By the way, the website of the National Council of Churches reports that World Communion Sunday began in 1936 in the Presbyterian Church and since then has been adopted by churches all around the world of many denominations. At its best, therefore, World Communion Sunday serves two purposes: it is both a joyous and meaningful partaking in Jesus’ sacred meal with his disciples and reminder of Christianity all over the world!