Today is World Communion Sunday.
This is the day when we join with Christians around the globe and remember the eternal presence of Jesus in the present moment. Today we remember when Jesus shared a last meal with his disciples as he prepared them and himself for his impending crucifixion. Today is the global day when we remember that, with the cross before him, Jesus on the evening before his crucifixion took bread, gave thanks to God, broke the bread, gave it to his disciples, and said: “Take eat; this is my body which is given for you. Do this in remembrance of me.” Today is the global day when we remember that after the supper was over, Jesus took the cup, gave thanks to God, gave it to his disciples, and said: “Drink from this, all of you; this is my blood of the new covenant, poured out for you and for many for the forgiveness of sins. Do this, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of me.”
As we celebrate the sacrament of the Lord’s Supper on World Communion Sunday, I invite us to remember how this meal connects Jesus’ disciples to the generations of Christian faith who have preceded us and the generations of faith in Jesus Christ that shall follow us in the faith of Jesus. I invite us to remember how all generations of faith in Jesus sit at table together in the eternal present moment that is described in the hymn, The Church’s One Foundation.
“Yet she on earth hath union with God the Three in One, and mystic sweet communion with those whose rest is won.”
(Samuel J. Stone)
Today, we join the biblical generations of faith who have made our faith in Jesus possible. We join Timothy whose faith was nurtured by his grandmother Lois and his mother Eunice. Today, we rekindle the gift of God that is within us as we join the generations of Jesus’ followers who sit with us at the Lord’s Table.
Rev. Frederick Buechner was a Presbyterian minister who died and joined the Church Triumphant on August 15 of this year. Part of the generations of faith in Jesus, Buechner had a gift for writing. He wrote 39 books that have been translated to 27 languages. I enjoy reading Buechner. His wit is undergirded with faith and wisdom. As we consider the eternal gift of faith in the present moment, I invite us to hear what Buechner wrote about humanity and about faith in Jesus.
First, hear what Buechner wrote about humanity in his book, The Hungering Dark:
“Humanity is like an enormous spider web, so that if you touch it anywhere, you set the whole thing trembling.”
Second, hear what Buechner wrote about faith in Jesus Christ in his book, The Return of Ansel Gibbs:
“If you tell me Christian commitment is a thing that has happened to you once and for all like some kind of spiritual plastic surgery, I say go to, go to, you’re either pulling the wool over your own eyes or trying to pull it over mine. Every morning you should wake up in your bed and ask yourself: ‘Can I believe it all again today?’ No, better still, don’t ask it till after you’ve read The New York Times, till after you’ve studied that daily record of the world’s brokenness and corruption, which should always stand side by side with your Bible. Then ask yourself if you can believe in the Gospel of Jesus Christ again for that particular day.”
Faith in Jesus Christ is both a daily gift and a daily decision. The doctrine of The United Methodist Church teaches that Jesus’ followers are saved daily as we proclaim our faith in Jesus’ eternal presence in the present moment. We live with daily faith as we pray the prayer Jesus taught us to pray, “Give us this day our daily bread.” We live with daily faith as we decide each day to walk with Jesus who said “Follow me.” We live with daily faith as we answer the question Jesus asked his disciples, “Who do you say that I am?”
We live with daily faith in Jesus because the eternal presence of Jesus is God’s gift to every generation that is set to trembling by the touch of God. Jesus was God’s gift to Timothy’s grandmother, Lois. Jesus was God’s gift to Timothy’s mother, Eunice. Jesus was God’s gift to Timothy.
In his blog, Steve Graves writes that one of his “favorite people in the Bible is Grandma Lois. Sure, Grandma Lois isn’t as well-known as her grandson Timothy, and she’s way less famous than her grandson’s mentor, Paul. But she played a vital, if behind the scenes, role in advancing the gospel and the Kingdom of God.
Lois briefly shows up in the book of 2 Timothy (which is named after her grandson), when Paul encourages the young pastor, “For I am mindful of the sincere faith within you, which first dwelt in your grandmother Lois and your mother Eunice, and I am sure that it is in you as well.” (2 Timothy 1:5)
There it is. The one and only time she’s mentioned in the Bible. I love it. Why? Because Lois was a leader in her family. The way she thought and lived impacted her daughter, then her grandson, and by extension, all the people that he led as a pastor. … There’s just an assumption throughout the Bible that faith should never end with us. It often doesn’t start with us, as well, but it should never end with us.”
Today is World Communion Sunday. As you join the generations of faith at Jesus’ table, where is faith living in your life?
Generations of Faith
by Pastor Marc Brown
October 2, 2022
Accompanying Scriptures: 2 Timothy 1:1-7
Fort Hill United Methodist Church
Order of Worship for October 2, 2022
Scripture Lesson 2 Timothy 1:1-7
The Good News “Generations of Faith”
Music “Jesus My Beloved” by Jonathan Ogden
Closing Music “The Church’s One Foundation” arr. Lloyd Larson