We do it every year. On the first Sunday in October, we decorate the altar with loaves of bread and we celebrate the moment when everyone taking communion that morning are all — worldwide and across denominations — on the same page. United in this celebration of our oneness in Christ with all our brothers and sisters around the world, on this Sunday we transcend all boundaries of denomination, geography, and language and more.
And this year is no different. Well, except for the part where we are not all together physically, even in our own sanctuary. But before you start thinking about how ironic that might feel this Sunday, let’s take a step back and consider that in a way, being united in spirit in one designated moment in time actually requires no physical space. It is simply the intent, backed up by active participation, that makes this Sunday a special connection between Christians worldwide. Wherever we are.
In this time when we are separated by space, yet still just as united in the Spirit as we are on any other World Communion Sunday, we will remember together that Christ is always at work, even in these COVID times, gathering us in unique ways.
Here are few preparations you can make in advance of this Sunday’s online worship to make this moment of worldwide connection even more meaningful in your home worship space.
- Choose your elements. Take a moment to look through your own kitchen to find the “bread and beverage” you will use for communion. (Or, as we sometimes like to say, locate your bread or bread-like substance, and your juice or juice-like substance) Whatever you choose, take a moment to remember the rich symbolism in these traditional elements — and that the Church also has a long history of using whatever is readily available as communion elements in any given time and setting.
- Prepare Your Worship Space. Prior to your time of worship (on Sunday morning or your own on-demand time) get in the habit of setting up your worship space by charging the device you will use to view the service, opening the browser and clicking on the link, downloading/opening the worship bulletin in another window, prepare your elements for Communion. (Have your “bread” on a plate and your “beverage” poured).
- Make it Special. Any dishes will do, of course, but perhaps we can choose something more special to help ourselves remember that this is a holy meal, set apart from our regular meals.
- Bring the Light. If it is safe to do so, you also may want to light a candle (or use a safer battery operated version) and place it by your prepared Communion elements to remind you of the presence of Christ in this space.
During this atypical World Communion Sunday worship in the Sanctuary, Dr. Tim Bruster, Senior Pastor, will guide you through this special worldwide celebration. Everyone is always welcome at God’s table, and most especially, from wherever you happen to be on this holy, global Sunday reception of the Lord’s Supper.
Want involve your family in the preparation for this special celebration? Dr. Bill Longsworth offers his mother’s bread recipe for those who would like to try their hand at baking bread together. Thank you, Bill and “Mom Longsworth!”
- 3T shortening
- 3T Sugar
- 1 Cup hot water
- Cool to lukewarm, then add I large cake (or two packages) of yeast plus 1 cup flour.
- Stir until smooth batter.
- Add about 11 cups (3 lbs.) flour around the board; add 1 T salt and I cup dry milk.
- Mix batter and dry mixture together; add about 2 1/3 cup lukewarm water.
- Knead it into a smooth dough, for about 10 minutes.
- Let it rise till double in size; then mix it down into the bowl.
- Let it double again in size (about ½ hour) then mix down again and divide into 4 loaves
- Place in greased loaf pans and let it rise again to double in size, then bake:
- 20 minutes at 400 degrees to brown, then 20 minutes at 350 degrees.
- Let cool on wire racks; store in airtight containers.
- Try not to eat all four loaves before Sunday.
This video was produced by United Methodist Communications in Nashville, Tennessee.