24 November, 2015 § Leave a comment
Welcome to part 2 of What is a Missional Church. You’ve joined us in the middle of a series. If you want to catch up check out Part 1: Foundation.
Generally when people hear about missional communities their brains explode trying to figure out how they can add it to their mosaic of religious practices. It is enormously frustrating for believers who are under the illusion that they are already massively involved in church programs to hear that it is not enough. This is where the Pharisees of Jesus’ time found themselves; busy doing everything but obeying God in all of life. A missional community is a family of servant missionaries on mission in all of life to see the knowledge of God’s glory cover the earth as the waters cover the sea. This brings us to Feast.
If I were to tell you that communion is supposed to be a feast you might pressure wash my face with the coffee from your red star bucks cup. For me growing up, I had heard of “love feasts” and only ever been in one church who practiced this, but the communion part was as it is in any church; a cracker and a shot of grape juice. I won’t go into the gruesome details of the symbolism of the stage in the passover supper that Jesus enacts communion because that is another long article for another day, but the bottom line is that when God in the flesh desired to put into place an event specifically designed to remind us that His death made it possible to have union with God and man, he fulfilled the feast of passover which foretold of this event and revealed what passover looks like for the AD believer. Theologians and church secretaries have struggled with the “As often as you do this…” clause of Jesus’ command for thousands of years, even going as far as carrying the elements to the sick and in prison whenever it was that they decided “as often as you eat/drink” meant.
I believe that we have been asking the wrong questions about communion. We ask, “How often,” when the question ought to be, “When should we not claim to be one with Jesus?” When the Apostle Paul deals with communion He never admonishes the Church for taking it too often, (Hint: it was daily back then. See Acts 2:46). No, Paul warns against unbelievers and those who intentionally hold bitterness in their hearts towards a brother or sister; in other words, those who are not one with God and man. (See 1 John for more teaching about oneness with God and man). We also ask the question “How much,” which I believe to be irrelevant as well. We acknowledge Paul’s admonishment to the church for the manner in which they took it which was heaping curses upon themselves, not because of overdoing it, but because they thought that communion should be more of an experience, so they made it a private affair inviting only those who they considered influential in the church to their private communion parties and would drink to the point of drunkenness and think that they were experiencing some sort of Holy Spirit high. We tend to focus on the part where they neglected the poor and stuff their faces and ironically have decided that the problem was how much bread and wine they were partaking in not that they decided that some are more deserving to be one with Christ than others who appeared to suck off the church. What we believe about God ought to influence what communion looks like. If we really believe that our God is a generous God who gives good gifts to his kids then why do we remember him in as austere a fashion as possible? Our celebrations ought to make harikrishna’s look like a bunch of kids shaking maracas and babbling nonsense. By examining our hearts to see if we are one with God and man and by examining what we believe about how generous God is we will come to the point where we celebrate with generosity which will overflow into our everyday lives.