World Communion Sunday – 4 Oct 2020

World Communion Sunday is a celebration observed by several Christian denominations, taking place on the first Sunday of every October, that promotes Christian unity and ecumenical cooperation.

Liturgy for World Communion Sunday (Canada)

Holy Communion for World Communion Sunday by Maren Tirabassi

Call to worship
Gathering God, joined as one family
we come to worship you today,
mindful of the breathing
of the life that you have called into being
across countries and climates;
all creatures and all creeds.

Jesus, teacher friend,
today you call us to your table
and invite us to feed on you,
so that we might then feed others.
Let our hunger for justice
and our desire for peace
never be exhausted
until all your children are safe and fed.

Life-giving Spirit,
let the words that reach our open ears
and your movement in our souls
in this time together
bless, comfort and disturb us.
So that the work of your servants here
may be directed along the right paths
for the sake of the world,
And all the people say: Amen.
(Source: Rev. Jennie Gordon)

Table Blessing
To your table
you bid us come.
You have set the places,
you have poured the wine,
and there is always room,
you say,
for one more.

And so we come.
From the streets
and from the alleys
we come.
From the deserts
and from the hills
we come.
From the ravages of poverty
and from the palaces of privilege
we come.

Running,
limping,
carried,
we come.

We are bloodied with our wars,
we are wearied with our wounds,
we carry our dead within us,
and we reckon with their ghosts.

We hold the seeds of healing,
we dream of a new creation,
we know the things
that make for peace,
and we struggle to give them wings.

And yet, to your table
we come.
Hungering for your bread,
we come;
thirsting for your wine,
we come;
singing your song
in every language,
speaking your name
in every tongue,
in conflict and in communion,
in discord and in desire,
we come,
O God of Wisdom,
we come
(Source: Jan L. Richardson from In Wisdom’s Path: Discovering the Sacred in Every Season)

And the Table Will Be Wide
A Blessing for World Communion Sunday
And the table
will be wide.
And the welcome
will be wide.
And the arms
will open wide
to gather us in.
And our hearts
will open wide
to receive.

And we will come
as children who trust
there is enough.
And we will come
unhindered and free.
And our aching
will be met
with bread.
And our sorrow
will be met
with wine.

And we will open our hands
to the feast
without shame.
And we will turn
toward each other
without fear.
And we will give up
our appetite
for despair.
And we will taste
and know
of delight.

And we will become bread
for a hungering world.
And we will become drink
for those who thirst.
And the blessed
will become the blessing.
And everywhere
will be the feast.
(Source: Jan Richardson, Painted Prayerbook)

2011 World Communion Sunday – we asked people in many parts of the world to send greetings, and made them into postcards to give out to people as part of our prayers for others.

Reflection
From a sermon by Diana Bass, “Jesus Takes a Knee”, for World Communion Sunday (text Phil 2:1-13): “These beautiful words in Philippians point toward the finality of all Caesars and all throne rooms. In Jesus, hierarchies of power, based in honor and loyalty fall. Their delusions revealed for what they are: shame and violence. These throne rooms give way to banquet rooms, a high chair of glory replaced by a table of compassion and sympathy and humility, where all feast and serve. To enter this room, we do kneel – we kneel in imitation of Jesus, the One who invited us to this meal by taking the form of a slave and washed our feet. This exultation is the exultation of loving our neighbor, not a exultation of power whereby Christians rule as some new Caesar. No. The rule of Jesus is that of bended knee. Not toward him, but with him, and toward one another in endless mercy.”

Music

God bless to us our bread (Traditional Argentinian)
“God bless to us our bread, and give bread to all those who are hungry, and hunger for justice to those who are fed. God bless to us our bread”.
Music sample here – track 1.

One in Love, We Meet Together (Tune: ‘Hyfrydol’ 87 87D)
One in love, we meet together,
one in time, and never apart.
We in flesh as brother, sister,
makes us one in mind and heart.
All incarnate, we would offer,
all we most sincerely prize,
Learning though traditions differ
how they join to make us wise.

One in outlook, always searching,
not to bind in common creed,
As a people, be more ready
to respond to other’s need.
Here we are so finely fashioned,
understanding, here to serve,
Never narrow in compassion,
empathy without reserve.

COMMUNION LITURGY

The narrative of the Lord’s supper

St Paul writes: The tradition which I handed on to you came to me from the Lord himself: that on the night of his arrest the Lord Jesus took bread, and after giving thanks to God broke it and said: ‘This is my body, which is for you; do this in memory of me.’
In the same way, he took the cup after supper, and said: ‘This cup is the new covenant sealed by my blood. Whenever you drink it, do this in memory of me.’ For every time you eat this bread and drink the cup, you proclaim the death of the Lord, until he comes.

The invitation
These are the words that have echoed in the mouths and hearts of countless followers through countless generations who have gathered round a table in community breaking bread and sharing the fruit of the vine with Christ, our Saviour. And today we share in this sacred meal, joined as one body in Christ with Christians all around the world this day – in grand cathedrals, in tiny churches, in homes, and shared in many languages and cultures. We gather around this table where Christ is host and we – disciples of Christ, those baptised in Christ – are the guests invited to share this sacred meal.

The Great prayer of thanksgiving
The Lord be with you.
And also with you.
Lift up your hearts.
We lift them to the Lord.
Let us give thanks to the Lord our God.
It is right to give our thanks and praise.
It is indeed right to give you our thanks and praise, O God, for you watch over the strangers and the needy and raise us from death to new life. You made heaven and earth, the sea and all that is in them. You raised up prophets among your people and through them spoke your word of life and truth. Jesus lived among us as One who showed compassion, who opened the eyes of the blind, lifted up those who were bowed down, gave food to the hungry, and set free the prisoners of death. When the powers of death rose against him and destroyed him, you spoke your word of life again, raising him to new life, as the revelation of your grace who will reign forever in justice and truth. So, we lift our voices, filled with joy, joining them with the glad songs of every place and generation, all creation praising your name:
Holy, holy, holy Lord, God of power and might. 

Heaven and earth are full of your glory, 

Hosanna in the highest.

Blessed is the one who comes in the name of the Lord. 

Hosanna in the highest. 



The prayer of consecration

We thank you that your Spirit is poured out on all people. Send your Spirit now on us and on these gifts of bread and wine, that we may know Christ’s presence, real and true, and be his faithful followers showing your love for the world.
Through Christ, with Christ, in Christ, in the unity of the Holy Spirit,  all honour and glory are yours forever. Amen.

Breaking of the bread
The bread, the life of Christ, broken. 
The cup of salvation, God’s love poured out for all people. 
The gifts of God for the people of God.
Communion is shared


Prayer after communion
We have been fed with the bread of life, the life of Christ: let this holy food sustain us through our earthly pilgrimage until we come to that place where hunger and thirst are no more; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
Words of mission and benediction 
May God’s grace flow freely in our life together.
May Christ’s love take us on a  journey of compassion.
And may God’s Spirit grant us courage to act with love. Amen.

2020 Holy Communion for World Communion Sunday (full text)
by Maren Tirabassi
Whenever we celebrate World Communion Sunday, we imagine all the tables of the world, but often we are physically gazing at our own church’s table dressed up a bit in our familiar sanctuary and it is only our words that reach out. Strangely enough, this year, with our community dispersed physically (even churches with some folks in a sanctuary with physical distancing have others who continue in virtual community) we are living what our liturgy has been telling us for eighty-seven World Communion years – that we are one people across all barriers.
Announcement … for late September
Next Sunday, October 5, is World Communion Sunday. Those who are blessing and receiving the sacrament at home, please prepare a slice or small loaf of bread, corn tortilla, or rice cake or what is sacramental and joyful to share and a cup or small cups of juice — perhaps grape or cranberry — or wine, with or without alcohol, or coffee, or coconut water all of which are used in worship in different places. In addition, you are invited to spend this week praying for a country in the world which is not your own. Often on this occasion we celebrate the “world” in a particularly generic “global” way rather than actually thinking about real places. For the days leading to World Communion Sunday choose one country to pray for – it may be in the news or may be one that you have visited or may be part of your ethnic heritage or may be one with a cuisine you find delicious or a writer or artist who inspires you. There is no right or wrong choice. Read an online article on this country – its history, its products, its religious heritage, the challenges it faces right now, certainly including how it stands in this pandemic. Learn a word in one of its languages – maybe peace or gratitude or blessing. Google translate is a helpful resource and includes an audio pronunciation feature. You might even find a recipe to make sometime this week. This too will be communion.

We prepare our tables and our hearts.
Call to Worship
The whole world is in God’s hands.
Everything that lives and breathes.
Everything that simply is. Everything.
From the farthest spaces, to the inmost places!
God is with us and we are with God. Alleluia!
As people of Christ, gathered at table,
with our sisters and brothers around the world,
to remember whose we are, we praise —
Alleluia! Thanks be to God!
Shall we pray?
With all that we have, with all that we are,
we worship you, God-of-all-Being.
Bless this day. Bless this time. Bless this gathering.
Bless this world, with your overflowing love. Alleluia!
Alleluia! Amen! (Canada)

Invocation
God of brilliant sunsets and shining rainbows,
God of golden daffodils and glowing autumn leaves,
God of all the blues of sunlit seas,
God of all the shades of green in bush and field,
in rivers and oceans and lakes,
in rough stones on a beach and polished jewels in a showcase,
God of people, brown and amber, pink and ebony,
artistic and athletic, practical and visionary,
compassionate and laughter-bringing,
God who colours us a world of variety,
We thank you that you have made each of us unique,
that you call us to contribute our special colours to the life around us.
We come to you in thanksgiving and worship. Amen (Aotearoa / New Zealand)

Celebration of Holy Communion
Invitation to Communion
We rejoice in the God of life,
who gives us bread:
the fruit of the earth worked with human hands.
and who makes it into the bread of life.
We rejoice in the God of life
who gives us wine:
the fruit of the vine tended with daily care,
and puts the flavour of the new world into it.
As the wheat and grapes are joined on this table in bread and wine –
into a visual symbol for us –
May our church join together
into a visual symbol for the entire world. (Germany)

Reconciliation
Paz, peace, py’aguapy.
Me Comprometo, Señor a buscar:
La sanidad de mi relación contigo.
La sanidad de mi relación conmigo misma.
La sanidad de mi relación con otros.
La sanidad de mi relación con toda tu creación.
¡SHALOM!

Paz, peace, py’aguapy.
I commit, God, to searching for:
The healing of my relationship with you.
The healing of my relationship with myself.
The healing of my relationship with others.
The healing of my relationship with all your creation.
¡SHALOM! (Chile)

Assurance of Grace
Forgiveness is forgetting bad things, remembering good things.
Forgiveness is accepting God’s love. ( China)

Naming of Countries
Leader: In this World Communion, we pray for these particular countries.
Spoken prayers are offered, or if on Zoom or other platform then ask people to respond by unmuting all at once on Zoom or Google Meets or one at a time to name the countries they have been praying for this week or a country that comes to them in this moment. People respond by chat on liveshare formats. People respond individually in a time of silence.

Words of Remembering
Remember, the Lord, the friend of sinners,
who were the oppressed, the estranged, the weak, the sick, widow, orphans.
Remember, the Lord, the one disliking of the common structure and power.
Remember, the Lord, the one sharing of daily food in life.
Remember, the Lord, the one liberating from a dictator.
We remember thy suffering, O Lord, at thy Last Supper. (Korea)

Prayer of Consecration
You emptied yourself completely
keeping nothing for yourself.
Now, naked, utterly stripped,
you give yourself to us as bread that sustains us
and as wine that consoles us.
You are Light and Truth
You are the Way and the Hope
You are Love. Grow in us. (Guatemala)

Sharing of the Elements
The ears of wheat are broken and scattered
on the hillside to grow.
Gathered, they are broken again
and scattered throughout the city to make bread.
the bread is scattered to each home
and broken to make nourishment.
Broken and scattered, broken and scattered,
and some becomes Christ’s body broken for us
as we are the people of God scattered through the city
and, perhaps, broken to give nourishment to others. (South Africa)

We receive this bread, broken, scattered and made whole.
(Pause)
We drink this cup, thirty, longing, willing to be poured.
(Pause)

Prayer of Thanksgiving
We give you thanks O Lord, for all food that has arrived at our table from your generosity. Bless the people who have made it possible, from the cultivation of the earth until it arrived to us. Give bread to those who are hungry, and to those who have bread give us hunger for you. Amen
(Mexico, grace contributed from an orphanage in Colima, may not be the original source)

Benediction Bendición

Que el Dios de la Vida,
sea tu guía en el camino de cada día,
sea tu refugio en momentos de inseguridad
y sea tu descanso en tiempos de fatiga.
Que el Dios de la Vida,
te fortalezca cuando te sientas débil,
te consuele cuando estés triste
y te abrace cuando te sientas sola.
Que el Dios de la Vida,
que te quiere y te conoce,
te cubra con su ternura de Madre.
Por siempre.
Amén.

May the God of Life,
be your guide on the road every day,
be your refuge in times of uncertainty
and be your rest in times of fatigue.
May the God of Life,
strengthen you when you feel weak,
comfort you when you feel sad
and hug you when you feel alone.
May the God of Life,
who loves you and knows you,
cover you with the tenderness of a Mother.
Forever.
Amen. (Argentina)

 

About admin

Rev Sandy Boyce is a Uniting Church in Australia Minister (Deacon) in placement at Pilgrim Uniting Church, in Adelaide CBD (12 Flinders St). This blog is mainly to resource worship planners for our services, but of course may be useful for others. We have some great writers of music, words for hymns and liturgy at Pilgrim, so this blog also includes their words.
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