Each morning when I wake up, I am reminded that God is with me. Often it happens in different ways - the birds singing that gently awaken me, the sun gradually streaming through my windows, the sounds of morning as my neighbors begin their routines, the smell of freshly brewed Guatemalan coffee. These are really ordinary happenings, but I choose to allow them to remind me that I am in the presence of God. And as follows, I choose to allow these moments to remind me that God's presence is with all of the people of the world, the whole of creation. Our God is good and gracious, no matter where we are in the world.
Our world is not the same all over. Sometimes there is confusion. Much of the world lives in constant need of adequate food, housing and safety. Much of the world lives in fear. Many of the children of the world do not have the ability to go to school. I cannot imagine all of this, and yet I know in my heart that Christ wants me to know all of this.
I know in my heart that Christ wants me to remember all of this as I awaken every morning and remember that I am in presence of God, because if I do remember all of this, I also will remember that all of the people of the world are my brothers and sisters, and I will remember that even the tiniest decision I make could ease the pain of my brothers and sisters or cause them more pain.
As I write this article, Protestant Christians, in particular, are preparing for the annual observance of World Communion Sunday. I have always loved this Sunday of the year, because I love thinking about how the world community gathers to celebrate a Holy Meal offered to us by God, whose love for the whole world is faithful and never-ending - in any language. God's mercy offers forgiveness, comfort and joy in every culture; God offers healing to the world.
I know that as congregations gather around the Lord's Table, there will be countless numbers gathering around the table, praying as I pray every year, for the healing of the world. As the family of God, we all know that pain in one member of the family brings pain in the whole family. When one suffers, the whole family can suffer. And when healing for that one comes, there is a sense of healing for the whole.
This year, however, I find myself asking if that is truly the case. When one of God's children suffers, do we all truly know that pain? Do I really know the pain of all of God's children? How can I know the pain of God's children when some of God's children may know the taste of only porridge throughout their lives and I have the luxury of choosing different foods that tantalize my taste buds, but may have no nutritional value?
I will always love World Communion Sunday, but it is important to me to know that God calls us to be in World Communion each day. People are not hungry just on World Communion Sunday. People do not live in violence just on World Communion Sunday. The people of the world are not our brothers and sisters just on World Communion Sunday. The need for justice does not occur just on World Communion Sunday. The confusion of this world is not present just on World Communion Sunday.
For the sake of our world, it is important that we learn to live in World Communion each day of our lives. Keeping that reminder before us will inform the way we live. If I strive to live in World Communion each day it will not be OK for me to make choices that show indifference to the rest of God's family throughout the world.
It is a difficult task to learn to live in World Communion each day, but it was what Jesus asked us to do and continues to ask us to do. And if we fully commit to this way of life, we will find that our lives will change as well. How do we get started? Reading the Gospels will give us a good start in trying to figure out what we must do to live in World Communion each day, for the life of Jesus gives us a pattern to follow.
As I think about our brothers and sisters around the world who gather at the table for World Communion Sunday, I am reminded of a Latin American prayer: "Lord, to those who hunger, give bread. And to those who have bread, give the hunger for justice." May it be so for us.
To God be the glory!
On the parish calendar:
1:30 p.m. today: Welcome service for Bishop Sandra Steiner Ball at Wesley Chapel, West Virginia Wesleyan College. Reception following in French See Dining Hall
Monday: Parish Conference
Oct. 20: Fall Fun! (Follow and Learn, Lord Fill Us Now), Smith Chapel United Methodist Church, Meadowbrook Road outside Bridgeport. Registration 9:30 to 10 a.m.; program 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. It will include music, games, fun, Bible lesson for children in kindergarten through sixth grade. It will be presented by Wesleyan District Children's Council.