A Common Meal

here is my last link for Barclay Press.

1. A Common Meal for Common People

I almost considered doing a summary on the BP post – but instead I will do it here.

In writing, reflecting, these two weeks about thoughts I realized that much of my focus has been on practices of the church. What we do as people in the church really makes a difference whether for the good or for the bad. If we have the retreatist mentality – we will never change or transform anything. The practices of a person in retreat are self-directed, on the defensive and not usful for Christ. But there are other types of practices that are equally unusful, practices that “stand for nothing” or are not rooted in the person of Christ are also not usful for the Kingdom.

We have the ability to be dogmatic and judgmental pushing people away, we can also be totally non-dogmatic, pull everyone in and have no distinctions between us and them; in this case the church looks like the world. In the first example the church looks like the lady on “trading spouses” insane, afraid and a caricature of itself. Neither are Jesus’ followers – we can’t be either totally exclusivive or totally inclusive but only centered on the person of Christ and how he lived his life. Practices focus on the real-life examples that Christ did, the church can turn many things into practices, practices that not only transform their own people but the world. This was what I meant when I talked about Halloween, telling the truth, the sacrament of birth, and eating common meals together. These are things that can be done by normal people, and find their root in the Gospel. This should be no surprise, for Jesus was for the common people, after all this is who he spent so much of his time with – why are we afraid to do the same? And is it legitimate fear? We can begin growing our faith one practice at a time.

7 responses to “A Common Meal”

  1. I have been toying with the idea of doing a Communion meal once or twice a month with friends who would want it to actually be a meal, with the idea of remembering that we are gathered around the table because of what Christ modeled for us. So far, I have been a slacker in getting it going.

  2. This sounds great Kevin – you should do it, but one thing you might consider how to invite some strangers, politicians, prostitutes, tax-collecters etc…a meal for all.

  3. Hmmm, any thoughts or suggestions? I know there is a church in Pasadena that does a weekly meal for the community: the poor, the homeless, those who have housing but no food.

  4. […] AJ Schwanz has once again written a thoughtful post about Quakers ideas of the sacraments. She’s been reading Bolger’s book and this of course brings up many questions about the use of sacraments for old and new faith communities. Many Emerging Churches do away with the wafer and grape juice for a more authentic communion of breaking bread together in the form of community meals. […]

  5. I appreciate this “Common Meal” article very much! I think sharing one’s food and home with others–including strangers–is more important than people know. My husband and I have made showing hospitality a lifestyle and spiritual discipline. We share a meal with others outside our family at least once a week, including those we don’t know well and those who don’t know Christ. We also encourage people to stop by unannounced. We know when someone does that that is what the Lord had on the calendar for that day and we need to listen to Him and not our to-do lists.

    I think it’s forgotten often that being hospitable is a requirement for elders, according to 1 Timothy and Titus.

    Thanks for the thought-provoking article, Wess!

  6. hey Daja,
    Thanks for reading and thanks for the comment. It’s great to here how your family works, I think you’re right we often put our to-do lists in front of everything else. And I can imagine it’s even easier to do with a family, thanks for showing us that we don’t have to neglect to the Gospel just because we have things that “need” to get done.