World Communion Sunday Festive Eucharist

World Communion Sunday Festive Eucharist

by Rev. Dr. Matthew M. Williams, Senior Pastor

Louis Armstrong first recorded “What a wonderful world” in 1967. It sings:

I see trees of green, red roses too
I see them bloom for me and you
And I think to myself what a wonderful world.
I see skies of blue and clouds of white
The bright blessed day, the dark sacred night
And I think to myself what a wonderful world.

The world is an immense place. Some years ago, the latest census calculations from the United Nations estimate the world’s population at 8.1 billion people. India, China, the United States, Indonesia, Pakistan, and Brazil are the top six countries with the highest populations. It is believed that between 700,000 and one million species live in the world’s oceans and that there are 8.7 million known species of animal, aquatic, and plant life around the globe. Astronomers estimate that there are 100 billion stars in the universe. The world is a vast place. God, the Creator, who set the stars in orbit, also makes the tides ebb and flow, the bulbs spring up and bloom, and makes the sun rise and set.

World Communion Sunday serves as a celebration of God’s creative world and as a reminder that we are not alone. God’s grace is wider and deeper than our passing feelings. Creator God, through grace, lives in us. As Christians, we recognize this is in the breaking of the bread. There is one bread, one body, and one Lord of all. World Communion Sunday gives us space to celebrate God’s great creation and the intimacy of following Jesus as co-creators with God in our world.

Theologian Albert Outler said these words at Highland Park UMC in 1969:

This particular Sunday began twenty hours ago at the International Dateline in the western Pacific – and the earliest celebrations were in palm-thatched chapels in Fiji, Samoa, and Micronesia. Then, as the day fled westward round the globe, other Christians in other countries gathered in their churches to invoke the living presence of Christ in his sacrament and to receive his healing power in their hearts and lives – in Japan, the Philippines, Asia and Australia; in Turkey and Greece and Russia; in Africa, Europe and the Americas – Christians of every race and color, of all languages, dress and custom, in every conceivable circumstance of life and fortune. Christians, we now know, are a minority in the world, but on such a day as this, we loom larger than usual because of our self-conscious community, generated and sustained by this universal sacrament of God’s love in Christ.

When we follow Jesus, he leads us out of the small worlds we create and into the immeasurable immensity of God’s creation. We are invited on this Sunday to spin the globe and get lost in the vastness and wideness of God’s mercy and love.

Jan Richardson, the Painted Prayer Book