This Sunday is World Communion Sunday, a day when Christian churches around the world have all agreed to celebrate Communion as a sign of our oneness in Jesus Christ. Not all Christian traditions participate, but many do, and the day is a powerful reminder of our unity in Christ despite the theological, political, linguistic, and cultural differences in the church around the world.
I wrote the following liturgy for use in my congregation this Sunday. Members have agreed to bring the breads listed. In some cases, they are making the bread from their country of origin. You could adapt the breads to your own context. As always, this liturgy is for you to use and adapt, provided you include a credit like “Adapted from Rev. Heather Prince Doss.” I am likewise grateful for Rev. Sarah Campbell and Rev. Jordan Rimmer for ideas that contributed to this liturgy.
Invitation to the Table
Today we celebrate World Communion Sunday, remembering our Christian brothers and sisters around the world who also celebrate this feast. We remember that this is our Lord’s Table, and all who seek Jesus are welcome.
Prayer of Thanksgiving
Matzah is unleavened bread reminds us of all who eat their bread in haste.
It symbolizes for us all the refugees who, like the ancient Israelites,
leave their homes and flee from danger.
May it remind us, too, of the homeless in our own city and country.
We pray, O God, for your church among those with no place to call home.
May we learn from their searching faith,
and may we be a place of welcome for all who seek safety.
Frybread reminds us of Africa,
the birthplace of humankind where Christianity continues to flourish.
It also reminds us of a legacy of slavery, and of a people who endured.
We pray, O God, for your church in places where it flourishes,
and we confess the times and places when we have enslaved our brothers and sisters.
May we learn from the vibrant faith of our African brothers and sisters,
and may we build a more just and peaceable world.
Nom Chakie is a Cambodian bread that reminds us of Asia,
where Christians are a minority among Muslims, Buddhists, Hindus, and others.
It represents for us the ways our faith calls us beyond our culture
and reminds us of our brothers and sisters who are persecuted for their beliefs.
We pray, O God, for your church in places
where Christianity is dangerous, politically or socially.
May we learn from the steadfast faith of our Asian brothers and sisters
and walk with Jesus through every trial.
Tortillas remind us of Central and South America,
where faith and culture have colored one another beautifully;
but also a place where Christians live with violence, drugs, and conflict as a daily reality.
We pray, O God, for your church in places beset by violence and still colored by hope.
May we learn from the persistent faith of our Latino brothers and Latina sisters,
and may we look upon them with compassion as our neighbors.
The baguette reminds us of Europe,
with its vast cathedrals that are often empty.
It represents those who keep the faith alive in lean times
and reminds us that the church is not a building, but a community of people.
We pray, O God, for your church in places where its power is diminished
and its followers are few.
May we learn from the age-old faith of our European brothers and sisters,
and may we live our faith so that our faith might live.
Cornbread reminds us of Native Americans
who first recognized God in the rhythms of nature.
It reminds us that the land we call home once belonged to others.
We pray, O God, for your church as it exists in every land.
May we learn from the earthy faith of our Native American brothers and sisters,
and may we care for the land and all those who call it home.
Come, Holy Spirit,
dwell in these breads and in this cup
that they might be for us the body and blood of Christ.
Come, dwell in your people of every land and language
that we might be united with one another
to be the body of Christ in every corner of the world today. Amen.
Words of Institution
Today, Christ-followers meet in public worship and secret gatherings to break bread together.
Today, in wealthy churches and hovels of poverty, wine is shared.
In many different languages, by ordained clergy and volunteer pastors,
these words of institution are given:
On the night he was betrayed, our Lord, Jesus, gathered for supper
with twelve of his closest friends, his disciples.
He took the unleavened bread of the Passover feast,
and when he had given thanks to God for it,
he broke it and gave it to his disciples, saying,
“This is my body, broken for you. Do this in remembrance of me.”
In the same way after supper Jesus took the cup and gave it to His disciples, saying,
“This cup is the new covenant – a new relationship with God,
marked by the forgiveness of your sins. Drink of it, all of you.”
And so today, every time we eat this bread and drink this cup,
we remember our Lord’s death, and we hope for the day when he shall come again.
These are the gifts of God for all the people of God.
Communion of the People
We will celebrate the feast by intinction with each kind of bread in a basket together. Worshipers may choose whichever type of bread they like – or maybe more than one!
Prayer after Communion
You have met us at the table, Lord Jesus,
to unite us with you and with brothers and sisters around the world.
Go with us now into that world,
that we might be a living sign of welcome among refugees,
of freedom among the oppressed,
of hope amid persecution,
of peace amid violence,
of living faith amid a culture of skepticism,
and of loving kindness toward the earth and all her inhabitants.
We pray in the name of Jesus, even as we pray that prayer that he taught us:
Our Father who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come; thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread, and forgive us our debts as we forgive our debtors. Lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil. For thine is the kingdom, and the power and the glory, forever. Amen.