“For as often as you eat this bread and drink the cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death until he comes.” –1 Corinthians 11:26
World Communion Sunday was established by the Presbyterian Church (USA) in 1936 and was originally called World Wide Communion Sunday. Of course this day beckons us to be mindful that when we gather at the table, we celebrate not only with those present but also with sisters and brothers around the world. I am reminded as well of the ‘Communion of Saints’—beginning with the twelve who shared that first Last Supper with Jesus in an upper room only hours before he was betrayed. How good it is to be gathered with God’s people in Christ’s name!
Artist, author and United Methodist minister, Jan Richardson has created this marvelous image in her piece called “The Best Supper”. Her description expresses some of what happens for me when I celebrate and receive the Eucharist, Holy Communion. “Inspired by the image of Wisdom’s Feast in Proverbs 9, this piece evokes the myriad meals that have fed me in body and soul. As I created this image, I was visited by memories of so many of the tables where I have found hospitality. Those memories are embedded among the pieces of this collage. Circling the table once again, I capture glimpses of those with whom I shared those sacred meals. I remember how we savored every scrap, how we lingered long after the last bite was consumed.”
When we gather as God people to share in the simple meal of bread and cup—we remember Christ’s life, death and resurrection and his call to us to offer hospitality; we create community, the Body of Christ, into which the Holy Spirit becomes a presence—sharing in the sacred grace that is ours through Christ; and we celebrate and savor the goodness and generosity of God’s love as given to us through the embodied presence of Jesus Christ. Remembrance. Community. Celebration.
That sure makes me want to linger at the Table with all of the saints from all over the world—and do it again and again and again. How about you? May you be blessed by Holy Communion in ways that you cannot yet imagine are yours to receive.
Rev. Wendy Miller Olapade (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Jan Richardson’s poetry is equally marvelous and her poem “Table Blessing” is offered here on her Painted Prayerbook page.