World Communion Day

Brian Bauknight



World Communion Day will always have a special place  in my life.  Partly because I experience ever-greater meaning in this act  of worship through my years of ministry.  And partly because it marks the  anniversary of my first Sunday of my unexpected appointment at Christ Church in  Bethel Park, PA on October 1, 1980—where Elaine and I will worship this Sunday. 
Formerly call “World-Wide Communion Sunday,” the name changed to  drop the “Wide” in 1971.  The day was originally a Presbyterian  observance.  But it became global in 1940.  In 1944, an offering was  added to the observance to benefit racial and ethnic minority students pursuing  various avenues of ministry. 
World Communion Day calls the  church to be a catholic inclusive church. 
The act of coming forward  reminds us that we stand in a long line of believers that circles the  Globe.  And we all come because Jesus bids us do so.
Sometimes, we kneel.  Sometimes we remain kneeling for prayer after receiving. Sometimes we stand.  Sometimes we receive as we pass by the  minister or celebrants.  Sometimes we pass the elements through the  congregation and all receive at the same moment.
Sometimes, we use extensive liturgy and song.  Sometimes, the liturgy  is fairly brief. Sometimes liturgy is scarcely more than an invitation and a prayer of consecration.  Tastes for liturgy and formality vary. And that is OK with me.
Over the years of my years of ministry, I have known  people who “stay away” on World Communion Sunday.  Excuses vary:

  1. The service is too long. 
  2. The sermon is too short.
  3. The  liturgy is too old-fashioned.
  4. Or—for me—the strangest excuse of all --I am  not worthy to receive communion.
Cancel out all excuses  (real or imagined) and go the Table in your place of worship this Sunday.   If you are the leader, pay attention!  Listen
attentively to the hymns and  the words of the liturgy.  Be mindful of just how ancient and contemporary  this simple act may be.  Remember that Christians have been “doing this in  remembrance” for over 2000 years.  Experience yourself in an endless line  of those who have said, “Yes” to the invitation of Jesus. 

In many  places and at varying times of this day, we will draw strength from the bread  and cup, affirm the church in our time, and acknowledge the Head of the church  for all time.

Read more about the United Methodist understanding of Communion.


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