“That I May Gain Christ (World Communion Sunday)”
By Pastor Jerry Donovan
In Philippians 3:5-6 Paul informs us: “5 I was circumcised on the eighth day, from the people of Israel and the tribe of Benjamin, a Hebrew of Hebrews. I lived according to the law as a Pharisee. 6 In my zeal for God I persecuted the church. According to the righteousness stipulated in the law I was blameless NET” What are you most prideful about? (A job, a project, your kids or grandkids, an achievement)
Why do you think 2 verses later he states, “I have suffered the loss of all things—indeed, I regard them as dung! — that I may gain Christ? NET” Then in verses 11 and 12 Paul explains his hope and motivation, “11 and so, somehow, to attain to the resurrection from the dead. 12 Not that I have already attained this—that is, I have not already been perfected—but I strive to lay hold of that for which Christ Jesus also laid. NET”
In The Book of Acts we read about the fellowship of believers “Acts 2:46 Every day they continued to gather together by common consent in the temple courts, breaking bread from house to house, sharing their food with glad and humble hearts, 47 praising God and having the good will of all the people. And the Lord was adding to their number every day those who were being saved. NET” This was the birth of the Christian church and this simple fellowship became canonized as the Last Supper or communion.
World Communion Sunday was started in 1940 as a Presbyterian-led initiative of churches toward universal celebration of Communion in the United States on the same Sunday. There was fairly strong interest by Presbyterians, Methodists, Congregationalists, and some Baptist groups at the time. These, in turn, generally promoted the idea across their missionary networks outside the United States so there would be more of a feel of worldwide Communion on that day.
When was the last time you were able to take Communion? In Communion, we experience the mysterious presence of Christ. That experience alone should bring assurance and should drive us in mission and ministry. Thus, we should be expecting to encounter Christ’s presence in Communion. We should approach Communion with reverence, confession, and expectation.
Imagine your Christian faith as running along a racetrack, pressing on toward the prize of full salvation (Philippians 3:14: with this goal in mind, I strive toward the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus. NET). Where are you now in this race, At the starting blocks, still hoping to get into the race? just starting? near the end? somewhere else?
Sunday October 4 you are invited to join us for World Communion Sunday at 10:30 CDT at the Van Horn Methodist Church, corner of 4th Street and Crockett or at the Sierra Blanca Methodist Church at 11:15 MDT on FM 1111.
God of Resurrection, you continue to woo us, draw us, invite us deeper into the mysteries of your love and grace. May practices like Communion, scripture reading, prayer, and communal conversation train us to see the riches of a relationship with Christ. Empower us to press on in being witnesses of your glorious kingdom. Amen.