“An Open Invitation” World Communion Sunday – October 2, 2016

“An Open Invitation”

World Communion Sunday – October 2, 2016 – Year C

Come – people of Penticton, approach the banquet table, knowing there is plenty for you!  Come – people of the north, the south, the east, and the west – draw close to the dinner table and know that you are welcomed with open arms.  The communion table is over-flowing with breads from many lands and grapes from our own vineyards.   Come – you who are hungering for love, acceptance and spiritual feeding.

In a few minutes we will join our voices in prayer, acknowledging the breads from many lands.  There is rye bread from Eastern Europe, tortilla from Central America, and bannock from our First Nations people.  The various breads remind us of the diversity of Christ’s followers and yet we all know Jesus as “The bread of Life.”

In some traditions wine is sipped from a common chalice, while in others we sip grape juice from individual cups.  What ever your tradition, today we will remember the grapes from which the wine is made and will give thanks to the land which has nourished the vines.  Scripture tells many stories referring to Jesus as the true vine.  Today we taste some of the fruit of the vine and acknowledge that Jesus is our strength and brings sweetness to our lips.

(Doug plays 1 verse of #460 All Who Hunger)

All who hunger, gather gladly, holy manna is our bread.

Come from wilderness and wandering.  Here, in truth, we will be fed.

You that yearn for days of fullness, all around us is our food.

Taste and see the grace eternal.  Taste and see that God is good.

Doug played the tune of this profound hymn, the music written by William Moore and Words by Sylvia Dunstan.  It is #460.

All who hunger, never strangers, seeker, be a welcome guest.

Come from restlessness and roaming.  Here, in joy, we keep the feast.

We that once were lost and scattered in communion’s love have stood.

Taste and see the grace eternal.  Taste and see that God is good.

All who hunger, sing together, Jesus Christ is living bread. 

Come from loneliness and longing.  Here, in peace, we have been led.

Blest are those who from this table live their lives in gratitude.

Taste and see the grace eternal.  Taste and see that God is good.

This wonderful poem hymn describes well the oneness that is ours this World – Wide Communion Sunday.   Whether it be Christians in Botswana who have walked half a day to join brothers and sisters of faith in worship and feasting on the communion meal, or Lutheran Christians in Iceland gathering once a month for communion, or the Maori in New Zealand gathering to write a new hymn book and beginning their time together with communion, or those of us who are seated in this sanctuary, we yearn for this sacred meal.

(Doug plays 1 verse of #460 All Who Hunger)

In a few minutes we will taste and see the grace eternal.  We will taste and see that God is good.  In doing so we will bear witness that though our faith may be like a mustard seed, tiny and seemingly inconsequential, we have the potential to do amazing things in the name of Christ!  Ours is a faith that moves trees – and yes, ours is a faith that moves mountains, as the expression goes.

But the second saying in the gospel text is also important to remember.  Our primary motivation for living faithfully must not to be honoured and rewarded.  Even though the disciples of long ago expected to be recognized and affirmed, the call by Jesus is that we are to live faithfully, act kindly, and be generous – whether or not we are rewarded for doing so.  What a challenge!  But on this World Communion Sunday, we let go of our desire for recognition and instead commit ourselves to the partnership way.

Our Wise Elders program is a reminder that working alongside our sister churches produces incredibly wonderful faith-filled realities.  We have much in common and that we can share our communion with one another.  Presbyterian, Anglican and United Church join so that we might be a strong presence in Penticton.  Our shared services, picnic and an upcoming community forum in March are all endeavours we can rejoice in.  Experiencing communion in the style of the host church is gift.  Worshipping, praying and getting to know one another as sisters and brothers of faith only makes us stronger.

Come – people of Penticton, approach the banquet table, knowing there is plenty for you!  Come – people of the north, the south, the east, and the west – draw close to the dinner table and know that you are welcomed with open arms.  The communion table is over-flowing with breads from many lands and grapes from our own vineyards.   Come – you who are hungering for love, acceptance and spiritual feeding.

(Doug plays 1 verse of #460 All Who Hunger)

  

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