World Communion Sunday (originally called World Wide Communion Sunday) is a gift of the Presbyterian Church to the larger ecumenical church. The first celebration occurred at Shadyside Presbyterian Church in Pittsburgh, PA, in 1933 where Dr. Hugh Thompson Kerr served as pastor.
In our celebration of World Communion Sunday on October 2nd, the Youth Choir led us in music and worship, and shared about their mission trip to Chicago this past summer where there has been over 3,000 shootings and over 500 murders this year alone. We served primarily on the west side of Chicago where about 50% of the population live below the poverty line and about 10% live in deep poverty, and where many felt the city had given up on them.
When I struggle with the issue of suffering, I try to remind myself to open up my Bible and to remember some of these unsung heroes we served with in Chicago, and submit myself to the God revealed in those pages and in those lives. In so doing, the mirror of truth is held up to my life and I receive a vision of a world and of a God much grander than that with which I began.
It’s good that we have Sunday’s like World Communion Sunday to remind us that we are not the center of the universe, but are part of a much bigger picture. We are part of the family of God from every place and time. We are part of the church from Wilmington to Malawi to Chicago. We know that all things work together for good for those who love the Lord and are called according to his purposes (Romans 8:28), because we’ve received a taste of what God is doing in the world and look forward to and will continue to work toward the fulfillment of God’s kingdom.
Robert H. Lapp