Sunday, November 08, 2009
communion anabaptist style
Worship. Which I often define as all that we are responding to all that God is. It includes our bodies, our seating relationships, our words of prayer. Today we continued our series on Turning points in history and the focus was the radical reformation. Especially given that the Baptists are 400 years old this year.
A perfect time to rearrange our church seating, swinging some of the pews into a “U” shape. So that we took communion looking at each other, at the body of Christ, rather than the person at the front. Lots of positive feedback on this very simple change in our church architecture. An embodied realisation that we gather as human people.
A perfect time to pull out this communion liturgy written by Balthasar Hubmaier, an early Anabaptist theologian. I pulled out some phrases I considered noteworthy and invited us to pray them together.
Brothers and sisters, If you will love God before, in and above all things. Response: I will
If you will love your neighbour and serve with deeds of love. Response: I will
If you will make peace and unity and reconcile among yourselves. Response: I will
If you will love your enemies and do good to them. Response: I will
So eat and drink with one another in the name of God the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit. May the Lord impart to us his grace. Amen
Note the fascinating progression in the theology of this communion prayer: -> God -> neighbour -> church community -> enemies. At times Baptists are considered functional pragmatists. These words suggest in fact a deeply relational and missional theology, expressed in the acts of worship and engaging the reality of everyday life. It sounds quite contemporary for a prayer written over 400 years ago!
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