We remind ourselves on World Communion Sunday that we are a part a greater whole, and that the worldwide church is at the same time absolutely united in Christ and yet almost infinitely diverse in the ways it looks and believes and worships and acts. It is helpful to look at both our unity and our diversity on a global scale. It helps us feel that we are not alone and that together we have far more power as a force of Christ’s love than we can sometimes feel as an individual congregation. It also can help us appreciate the differences we have within our own small, beloved community, and realize that our diversity of perspectives, personalities and gifts is a strength to be celebrated.
We will read scriptures that help us understand how God is at work in the unity and diversity of the church and world, including the vision of the prophet Isaiah of a feast for all peoples on God’s holy mountain (25:6-9), and Paul’s metaphor of the body of Christ made up of different members (I Corinthians 12:12-27), and the conclusion of Jesus’ Farewell Discourse in the gospel of John where he prays “that they may all be one,” the motto of our denomination, the United Church of Christ (John 17:20-23).
We will sing the Pilgrim Hymnal’s African-American spiritual version of “In Christ There Is No East or West,” and the popular, joyous Jamaican communion hymn, “Let Us Talents and Tongues Employ,” as well as “When We Can See As God Can See,” set to the melodious Robert Schumann tune, Canonbury. The choir will sing verses of the Spanish hymn, “Somos pueblo que camina (We Are People on a Journey)” from the New Century Hymnal as the Introit and Ludwig van Beethoven’s “Let Your Light So Shine” as the Anthem. Organist John Atwood will play pieces by G. Frescobaldi, Tomas de Santa Maria and Louis-J. A. Lebefure-Wely.