In November the International Conference on Missions will meet in Cincinnati. Thousands will gather, as they have for 70 years. Friends will reconnect from all over the world. They might share an Italian meal at the hotel, a breakfast of French roast coffee and croissants, or an Asian feast at a Japanese steakhouse. Almost anywhere in the world nowadays you can partake of meals from . . . almost anywhere.
If we were to have a fellowship meal here and each of you brought food from the farthest place you’d ever been, what kind of ethnic meal would we have? Indian curry? Texas barbecue? Irish stew? We could call it an uttermost banquet—brought from the uttermost parts of the earth.
This Communion is an uttermost banquet, too. Some of our brothers and sisters will gather with thousands at the yearly international conference. But today—and every week—we’re gathered at this table with millions, a communal meal foreshadowed by Moses, instituted by Jesus, and shared to the uttermost parts of the earth.
We should never forget that it’s not just us taking Communion today. Many will worship in poverty, others in secret with curtains drawn, while others enjoy free coffee in megachurches with services televised for the masses. Such extremes, one commonality: Jesus.
Jesus told his friends that after receiving his Holy Spirit, they would be his witnesses “in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth” (Acts 1:8). After Jesus ascended, an angel announced that the Lord would return one day in the same way: with the clouds. We share Communion, as the Scripture says, to show the Lord’s death until he comes again.
It’s been said that missions exists where worship doesn’t. That means wherever people don’t know enough about Jesus to worship him as Lord, there you have a mission field.
So this uttermost meal carries missions of beauty and of challenge. The beauty is that we believers are all brothers and sisters. We have the same ancestor—Adam, the same Father, and the same Savior. The challenge is to be strengthened together so we may reach the billions who are spiritually starving for this meal.
It’s our privilege to partake of the meal, and then to take the message. Partake, then take.