Saturday, May 23, 2009
Draw In and Part: Christian Communion
For those of you are here for the art, music and reflections on creativity and NOT for thoughts on spirituality: skip this post.
Here's a concrete example of the Jesus and Rules issue from our community regarding Christian communion.
Jesus told his followers to have this meal as a way of remembering him. In all my years in a wide variety of Christian churches I rarely experienced that particular goal of the ceremony. It was usually about examining our own lives (and failures) or building community (lovefeast) or thinking about Jesus' suffering and sacrifice (and the theological implications of it), but not really about remembering Jesus -- the person.
How do we remember someone? We tell stories about them. We point out details -- how they walked, their particular way of speaking, activities they loved or hated, things that pissed us off or that we loved about them, things we did together.
Recently our community tried to remember Jesus in this way. It was weird -- much easier to just ditch the whole practice or do it in the way it's been done before. Trying to actually "remember Jesus" felt like something different altogether. It was weird and uncomfortable -- and eventually meaningful -- for all of us, including those having issues with the traditional Christian practice of communion and those who deeply value it and are fed by it.
People sat around and talked about what they liked or what frustrated them about Jesus. Some people told stories from their own lives that they interpret as interactions with Jesus. We talked about stories we'd read about Jesus in the Bible or in other places, and what we remembered from those, and how it impacted us. It felt more like we were remembering a real person than one event in a person's life or a theological idea regarding a person. It felt like remembering Jesus. Go figure.
Labels: spirituality Christianity change communion community practices rules guidelines remembering Jesus