This week, we begin a four-week series on "Four Prayers That Don't Work". What do our prayers say about our faith? As we continue walking through the Gospel of Luke, we'll have an opportunity to touch on some fundamental aspects of prayer, hopefully empowering us to speak to God more boldly and more honestly. Luke will help us see that prayer is ultimately a way of practicing dependence on God. In this week's stopping place, we'll see that one of the prayers that doesn't work is the "prayer for enough faith to have no need for faith": Faith, after all, implies a willingness to deal with uncertainty, to depend on what you cannot see, and to trust what you cannot know. And it never feels like enough, which is why it's called "faith". Faith leads us out into that place where we are more aware than ever of our need, our lack, our dependence, because it is only in that fragile state that we will discover the One who can move mountains. In this way, faith is not so much something that we possess, but something that possesses us, beckoning us into the life that only God can offer.
World Communion Sunday: This Sunday we also celebrate “World Communion Sunday”, an observance among many Protestant Christian denominations on the first Sunday of October each year, in which we remember our oneness in Christ with all our brothers and sisters around the world. The apostle Paul tells us that we are to “discern the body” when we partake of Holy Communion, mindful that we note our relationship to all our brothers and sisters in Christ in the celebration. One is not to go hungry while another is drunk! (1st Corinthians 11:21)... and that’s true whether our sibling in Christ is around the block or around the world.
The observance of “World Communion” Sunday was started by Shadyside Presbyterian Church in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, in 1933. Through the 1930s, it spread in American Presbyterianism and then into other denominations; in 1940, it was endorsed and promoted by the US’s Federal Council of Churches (a national ecumenical agency that eventually joined with others to form the National Council of Churches); and in the time since has been adopted by many Protestant denominations in many countries, including here in Canada among The United Church of Canada and others.
For those joining in worship via online methods, you will want to have prepared a piece of bread and a cup of wine/juice in order to participate in Holy Communion together with the in-person worshippers.