World Communion Sunday: "I Come With Christians Far and Near"

During this past year we have witnessed many great historical events. We have seen walls of hostility crumble and have been challenged by profound political changes. We have noted the important role of the church of Jesus Christ in many of these changes.

As we partake of the Lord's Supper on this day, we celebrate that we are part of the holy catholic church, the communion of saints. We remember the protests of Reformed Christians in Rumania, the growth of house churches in China, the slow but significant dismantling of apartheid in South Africa, and the continuing work of Christians everywhere, and we rejoice that we all are bound together as one body, with Christ as our head.

The Gathering of the People

The Concerns of the Congregation

The Prelude: "They'll Know We Are Christians" (Held)

The Call to Worship: Psalm 107

O give thanks to the Lord, for God is good. God's love endures for ever!

You turn deserts into pools of water and parched land into springs of water, O God, and there you let the hungry dwell.

They sow fields and plant vineyards and get a fruitful yield. By your blessing they multiply greatly.

You raise up the needy out of affliction and make their families like flocks. The upright see it and are glad!

Whoever is wise, let them give heed to these things;

Let us consider the steadfast love of the Lord!

The Collect

The Processional Hymn: "I Come with Joy to Meet My Lord" (PH 311, RL 534)

During the processional hymn, flags from forty-eight countries will be carried in and placed in stands stretching across the front of the church.

The Epistle Lesson :1 Timothy 6:6-11,17-19

The Anthem: "Sing Out Your Song, Christians of the World" (Besig/Price)

The New Testament Lesson: Luke 16:19-31

This is the Word of the Lord.

Thanks be to God.

The Sermon

The Litany for World Communion:

Sovereign God, we give you thanks for calling us your children and for entrusting us with the care of your creation.

Help us to feel the textures of your worldly tapestry. Unstop our ears that we may hear your Word spoken in many languages. Breathe into us the sweet aromas of life that we may taste the fruits of your reign.

(Spoken in Russian) Even now, Lord, even in Asia; so vast, so strange, so deeply rooted in tradition; where your church is small, but where religion is great.

Lord, teach us respect. Help us learn from those who express their faith in different ways. Deepen our understanding of customs that are strange. Help us discover new ways to witness in this ancient land.

(Spoken in one of India's languages) Even now, Lord, even in the Middle East; the cradle of the church, the land many faiths call holy, and now the place where the pain of the cross is so vivid, where the dry earth is watered by the tears of suffering.

Free your people from their warring madness. Teach us mutual respect, that the captives might be freed and the frightened might be comforted.

(Spoken in French) Even now, Lord, even in Latin America; where your church stands faithfully with the weak and the poor, where martyrs are made and drugs dictate, where we are paying for the sins of our past.

Bring peace to our southern neighbors, O Lord. Tear down the barriers that divide and build up bridges that will bring people together for the common good.

(Spoken in German) Even now, Lord, even in Africa; where your church grows rapidly, where faith is exuberant, but where there is famine and oppression.

Break the cycle of suffering among our sisters and brothers and help us to respond to their needs in ways that will bring your message of hope to those who languish in despair.

Even now, Lord, even in North America; where so much affluence causes so much indifference; North America, the land with so much to give yet a land held prisoner by its possessions.

Help us assume the role of the servant as Jesus did. Open our eyes to all parts of your creation even now, Lord, even if what we see frightens us. And help us to trust you to guide us as we act faithfully.

The Peace and Response:

O God, you chose us in Christ to be your children, and called us to proclaim his good news to all the nations.

Let us so live together in this community and so let us embrace your world that others may meet Christ through us.

May the peace of God be with you.

And also with you. (Let us greet one another in peace.)

Hymn: "In Christ there is no East or West" (HB 479, PH 540, RL 410)

The Offering and Minute for Mission

The Presentation of the Offering

"Let every creature rise and bring
peculiar honors to our King;
the weary find eternal rest,
and all who want are truly blest."

The Sacrament of Holy Communion:

The Invitation

The Great Prayer of Thanksgiving and Lord's Prayer

The Words of Institution

On the communion table are loaves of bread—black and round, long and thin, with different colors and textures—typical of several different countries and traditions. These will be lifted up as the Words of Institution are read in several languages: "This is my body, which is for you."

The Communion

As the elements are passed let us speak to one another saying, 'This is the body of Christ, broken for you," and 'This is the blood of Christ, shed for you."

The Hymn "He's Got The Whole World"

He's got the whole world in his hands.
He's got the whole wide world in his hands.
He's got the whole world in his hands.
He's got the whole world in his hands.

He's got you and me, brother, in his hands.
He's got you and me, sister, in his hands.
He's got everybody here in his hands.
He's got the whole world in his hands.

He's got the little bitty baby in his hands…
He's got Bush and Gorbachev in his hands…
He's got the people of South Africa in his hands…
He's got all the world's refugees in his hands…
He's got the Chinese students in his hands…
He's got the Johnson County Yuppies in his hands…
He's got the terrorists and troublemakers in his hands…
He's got the hurricane victims in his hands…
He's got___________(Add or substitute other verses.)

The Prayer

The Hymn: "Eternal God, Whose Power Upholds"

The Benediction

The Choral Response 'The Lord Bless You"

The Postlude

Excerpt

The first Sunday in October. A day of recent origin on which all congregations are urged to celebrate the Eucharist so that all Christians may receive communion on the same date. Of particular pertinence, of course, in those churches that lack a weekly eucharistic tradition.

—From Handbook of the Christian Year, Abingdon Press, 1986.

This service took place October, 1989 at the Grace Covenant Presbiterian Church, Overland Park, Kansas.