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October 4 — World Communion Sunday: Family faith formation @ home

Welcome 

Invite various persons to bring a designated item and use this liturgy to begin your time of learning together. 

One:    Come, let us gather around and see how the Spirit will nurture our faith today.

All:      Who is with us?
One:    Christ, the light of the world.
(Place a candle on a table in your gathering place and light it.)

All:      Who is with us?
One:   The Love of God, who came to meet us in the world.
(Place a cross on a table in your gathering place.)

All:      Who is with us?
One:    The Wisdom of God, who speaks through the Scriptures.
(Place an open Bible on a table in your gathering place.)

All:      Who is with us?
One:    The Grace of God, who proclaims we are children of God.
(Place a symbol of baptism – a bowl of water, a seashell – on a table in your gathering space.)

All:      Who is with us?
One:    Our risen Lord, who meets us at the table.
(Place a symbol of communion – a plate and cup, a loaf of bread, grapes – on a table in your gathering space.)

One:    We are here, Holy Spirit, ready for your leading.

God sightings and prayer offerings 

Invite each person to share where they saw or experienced God this week. Invite each person to share something — a person, community, experience, event, etc. – for which they want to offer prayer.

Good and gracious God, we thank you for all the ways you were and are present in our lives and in the world. [Invite each person to say aloud the sighting they named earlier.] We bring our prayers to you, prayers for… [invite each person to say aloud the prayer need they named earlier]. In Christ’s name we pray, Amen.

Connecting with Scripture: Philippians 2:1-13

Read the Scripture aloud the first time using the New Revised Standard Version or the Common English Bible.

As you read the Scripture a second time, invite those who are gathered to consider how they declare God’s glory – with words and actions.

Connecting through story

Watch this video made for World Communion Sunday

  • Why were they praising God and declaring God’s glory?
  • What were all the ways people were worshipping God?
  • What do all these countries, communities and people have in common?

 

Connecting with our lives

Engage in dialogue:

  • Whose table do we gather around for communion?
  • Who invites and hosts us at this table?
  • What are we doing when we come to the Lord’s Table and take communion?
  • What do Christians all around the world have in common?
  • What unites or connects us?
  • In what ways is our connection stronger than our differences?
  • What do you think it means that Christians all around the world take communion on the same Sunday at least once a year?
  • Why is it important?
  • When Christians take communion on this special day, all over the world, how does that declare God’s glory?
  • How will you tell of God’s great glory and love for all people — regardless of our home country, race, gender, wealth or denomination?

Teaching points that can be incorporated into your discussion:

  • The first Sunday of October is designated as World Communion Sunday.
  • It was started by a Presbyterian minister, Hugh Thomson Kerr, in 1933.
  • He wanted to bring churches together to show we are one in Christ and, regardless of denomination or country, we are connected to one another through Jesus Christ.
  • Presbyterians adopted it as a national celebration in 1936 and they began other denominations to join them in celebrating World Communion Sunday.
  • During the 1940s, the predecessor of the National Council of Church in the United states began promoting it among its member churches — Presbyterians, United Methodists, Episcopalians, Lutherans, Disciples of Christ, American Baptists and more began adopting the practice of celebrating communion on the first Sunday of October.
  • Today, it is celebrated in denominations and churches across the globe.
  • It is important to remember that communion is the family meal of all Christians. Whether it is called “communion” or “The Lord’s Supper” or “The Eucharist,” it is a sacrament we all share.
  • When we gather at the communion table, regardless of where it is physically located, it is the Lord’s table and does not belong to a specific congregation or the denomination.
  • Christ, himself, invites us to the table and serves as our host.
  • When we take communion, we are gathered with all who believe in Christ Jesus in heaven and on earth as, together, we give thanks and “tell of God’s glory.”

Find a world map and see if you can locate all the places mentioned in the video where Christians are celebrating communion. Place a cross on each place you find.

Prayer

Close your time together by praying for one another, your neighbor, community and the world.

REBECCA DAVIS is the associate professor of Christian education at Union Presbyterian Seminary in Charlotte, North Carolina. A teaching elder and certified educator, she served congregations for over 20 years before moving into academic teaching. In addition to teaching and mentoring students, her passion is child advocacy and ministry.

 

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