The Didache, or the Teaching of the Twelve Apostles, is an early Christian document considered by most scholars to be from the later first or early second century. The document, a kind of pastoral manual, contains instructions for celebrations of the Eucharist. The following is an English translation of a portion of the Didache:
Celebrate the Eucharist as follows: Say over the cup: “We give you thanks, Father, for the holy vine of David, your servant, which you made known to us through Jesus your servant. To you be glory forever.”
Over the broken bread say: “We give you thanks, Father, for the life and the knowledge which you have revealed to us through Jesus your servant. To you be glory forever. As this broken bread scattered on the mountains was gathered and became one, so too, may your Church be gathered together from the ends of the earth into your kingdom. For glory and power are yours through Jesus Christ forever.”
World Communion Sunday is observed by a number of Christian communities on the first Sunday of October each year. The celebration, which began in 1933 with the Shadyside Presbyterian Church in Pittsburg, Pennsylvania, emphasizes Christian unity. Each October when I experience World Communion in worship, I think of the Didache’s words: “As the broken bread scattered on the mountains was gathered and became one, so too, may your Church be gathered together from the ends of the earth into your kingdom.” When we celebrate World Communion, we join with Christians across many years and from many different places to pray for, seek, and embody Christian unity.
During this autumn season, when many local communities host festivals to celebrate and give thanks for the year’s harvests, I am thankful for the students, faculty, and staff who have been gathered together here at Wake Forest University to become this school of divinity. We are a diverse theological community, each of us called to serve God in some unique way, but when we gather at God’s feast table in our chapel services, what is otherwise scattered becomes one, the body of Christ. For these moments of unity and community, I am grateful, and in them I find hope for the future of Christian communities as our students, future religious leaders, embody around our worship table what they are learning in classrooms and internships.
Blessings, students, as you scatter for Fall Break,
Associate Dean for Academic Affairs
Photo from Table d’Hote on the Hudson