October 4, 2020: Part of the Same Body

World Communion Sunday    

Have you heard anyone use the Bible to justify their position on “hot” issues? We all are aware of the practice of selecting isolated verses that “prove” the points of the exercise. It’s a dangerous practice and needs to be done with the full scope of understanding of the Bible.

The parable of the vineyard and the bad tenants that Jesus tells in Matthew 21 is in response to the religious authorities who were questioning his right to teach in the temple. The story is an old one, found also in Psalm 80 and in Isaiah 5. The point of the story was understood by the authorities who withdrew from the group.

What does this parable mean today? Perhaps in this time of instant reporting, quoting, photographing, we need to let what is true, what is honorable, what is pure, what is pleasing, what is commendable (Philippians 4:8) be our guide. We can retell the old stories in our own words and understanding if we use Jesus as our guide.

Today is World Communion Sunday. This celebration was started in 1933 in the Shadyside Presbyterian Church, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, under the guidance of the Rev. Dr. Hugh Thompson Kerr. This was adopted as a denominational practice by all Presbyterian churches by 1936. In 1940, the Federal Council of Churches (now the National Council of Churches) endorsed the practice and began to promote it to Christian churches worldwide. The main goal was the understanding of the unity of all Christianity in the practice of Communion and ecumenical cooperation.

The Moravian Church with its global membership and ecumenical understanding was an early participant. Let us remember the stories that led us here today. We are all welcome at God’s table. Tell the story of God’s love and grace.


Martha Griffis, Central Moravian Church

Bethlehem, Pennsylvania