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Friday, March 24, 2006

Comments

Glenn

Brodie,

Good stuff. We have eaten a meal together as a community every week in the year since we planted the church. But now that we have grown to over 100 it is getting to be a real headache.

This was a timely reminder that we need to find a way to keep it going.

I wonder if the answer for larger churches isn't to encourage homegroups to eat together at leeast once a month.

The act of eating together forms community both with one another and with God, ina way that no other single act does. (IMHO ;-)

stuartweir

Hi Brodie,
You should check out, if you haven't already, JH Yoder's 'Body Politics' which has a whole chapter on a justice for the poor view of eucharist. Flippin' quality!
Good post. Keep them coming.
Stuart

bro

Read Yoder's "Body Politics" last year and as you say, flippin quality!

lex

the last supper was actually the passover seder, the oldest continually celebrated feast feast in the world... 3500 years! it is so rich and pact with symbolism and meaning of the gospel, i'm not sure how anybody could have missed Y'sh-a as the Messiah!

but i agree, we need to get back to basics, food. healing. fellowship. love of G_d, love of people, love of land.


p.s. my name is alex (lex or alistair of good cheer work too) and i live in the states. cleveland, ohio.

brodie

Lex - thanks for your comments. A couple of years back I organised a christian passover meal at an alternative service i ran. It was a great time although it was worring that some of the young people had never heard of passover.

I guess part of what I'm driving at is that at this service we were small enough in numbers that we could have a shared meal. But how do we do this reguarly when our gatherings become larger? How do we remember Jesus in a why that's more connected to what was going on at that last supper?

Dave Lynch

I have seen gatherings (pentecostal, baptist, reformed, spring harvest etc etc) where hundreds of people share the paltry and meagre offering, there is no connectedness or intimacy and really is just a ritual instead of a sacrament of grace.
So I think your questions have no answer in one sense, you just have to accept it, what I mean is this...you cannot have the community oneness in a large gathering that you can in a small one. Maybe churches are not meant to be as big as we make them, we have a 21st model of church but a 1st century NT.
We have to accept that we cannot do all the things the NT calls us to in the model of institutional church we have become...so not everyone can bring a psalm or hymn etc, imagine that in a 200 strong church.
There is possibly one answer though for large churches - make the gatherings last longer, don't rush, but how many people would be happy spending 5 or 6 hours on a Sunday, what about the footy at 4pm on Sky Sports?

I personally think that if a church is that big it should form into smaller groups maybe, but even that is problematic, for it to work well each sub group would need to be almost autonomous, and which church is going to want to lose 20-30 people overnight, and the finance that goes with that.

I do not have this problem, we are still small, and any one of our gatherings can contain the love feast.

Thanks for your questions as they made me think a lot deeper than my reply reflects, keep on questioning my friend.

Phil Reilly

Hi Brodie, I chatted with Glenn about this very post on Friday night.

This is a really thought provoking post. I have to admit that Dave beat me to it. I have been comtemplating the fact that perhaps our Churches are too large, particularly when we hold up the lense of the New Testament. Specifcally however the New Testament (correct me if I'm wrong) doesn't comment on numbers per se in Church. What it does comment on however is 1. feasting and 2. that bread and wine are specifically set apart as the elements for the celebration/remembrance of the new covenant. Perhaps we have lost the fact that whilst the bread and wine are set apart it is part of a feast - how do we recover this? how can we in large Church communities? I don't have the answer to this...

paul t

we ( now a citywide network of friends here in Ed) had a thing we called 'the kitchen' - a happening; anyone could do it: use your own kitchen or (we also setup a huge flat called the 'friary' with big kitchen n 2 guestmasters and open house policy - who lived there for free in return for giving hospitality tae strangers and pilgrims and mates in club scene and streets (we made a wee studio and gallery space n even hosted an early 24-7 mad prayer n paint n photo n dj fest:

someone we didn't know got invited to sit and tell us their story - while we all mucked in cooking stuff (cooking and eating and chattin - all at the same time as having a rauchus banter n QnA and chat with the person) ALL in the kitchen .. some even built a wee candleit place in another room, somewhere ye could go and be quiet whenever you wanted. it became a bit of a culture ...(a 'way') rather than a mere event or series of events

and

the art party -
again more of a culture - word of mouth - freinds n strangers from all over edinburgh
the idea is simple - everybody must submit or contribute their ane piece o original art -
25% brought new music (electronic n acoust pices n sung)
25% brought their scribbles n new poetry (the NI poets were stunning)and rap pieces were fab
here's where the other 50% gets fun!
some started to bring their own DIY clothes and hung them from the walls- others created installations and used the lobby as part of install - others stuck up pieces of paintings and sketches on the wall (while no one was looking) and best of all:

the rest brought bags and pans and made their own food sishes and puddings on site in the kitchen.. while singing and poetry and clapping and cheerin went on in different rooms of the flat - main room: music, art n poetry and clothes...

both kitchen and art parties - were creating a 'citywide culture of:' rather than 'event for:' LEARNING HOW TAE DO 2 things that we need in scotland
1. to let the stories and dreams of the poor live and beat at the heart of the people of God - focus on supporting and encouraging them and their dreams and the dreams of all God's bonnie saints in a new land

2. Help ALL Scots saints tae get up off their masochistic butts and SHINE - by releasing them and their hidden dreams INTO the land, the city the toon, the scene - ALL of them! the minister is now the posse!

the bread and wine tradition (social tradition of friendship with the trinity), like the gospel itself, has been stolen from the poor in the land - it's time tae give it back tae them.
aye !


brodie

Thanks for our comments guys - I'm on holiday next week and not sure if I'll blog much. I would however like to reflect on your thoughts and do a follow up post at some point.

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