Monday, May 06, 2013

missional communion

An introduction to communion that I shared today, working with our candidates, faculty and visiting ministers, gathered around the topic of self-care.

There is a story of some ministers gathering. Much like us today, to wrestle with ministry. In the question time, a question is raised. A person aware of their world, concerned about the church. How can we bring people to the altar?

The response is made. Is the question how do we bring people to the altar? Or is the question, how do we bring the altar to people?

An important reminder as we gather. It is not that we come to communion, but that in communion God comes to us. In this we are invited to participate in God’s mission.

Yes, it is about our care. In communion God feeds us, centres us, re-values us around grace and redemption.

But it is more than that. It is also about care for the church. In communion God feeds the church, centres the church, re-values the church around grace and redemption.

But it is more than that. It is also about care for the world. In communion God wants to feed the world, wants to centre the world, wants to re-value the world around grace and redemption.

And so we pray; Spirit, fall on us, that these elements of bread and wine may be for us a participation in your life, love and mission, your bringing the altar to people.

Posted by steve at 03:25 PM


  1. I love it. Your use of ‘altar’ rather than table intrigues me. I guess it comes from the story.

    Comment by Craig Mitchell — May 6, 2013 @ 5:51 pm

  2. Thanks Craig. It seemed to go well – first time I’ve done communion at Uniting College without a script – just a postit note with a few word prompts! Decided to risk the “Principal” saying something wrong, with wanting to model to folk communion as a prayer, rather than reading from a page.


    Comment by steve — May 6, 2013 @ 6:27 pm

  3. I thought it was really effective. Thank you.

    Comment by Sandy Boyce — May 6, 2013 @ 9:55 pm

  4. Thanks Steve. “people to altar” or “altar to people” – back to my thesis title again.

    Comment by Bruce Grindlay — May 8, 2013 @ 1:53 pm

  5. Thanks Bruce.

    I was drawing on John Drane’s chapter, Looking for Maturity in the Emerging Church, in Mission-Shaped questions

    “At a recent diocesan retreat, one priest who was clearly frustrated by his lack of
    missional appeal asked me, ‘How can we get the people to come to the altar?’ When I turned the
    question on its head, by asking ‘How can we take the altar to the people?’ he was dumbstruck.
    The notion that the spiritual could possibly be encountered anywhere except in a church building
    at a certain time of day formed no part of his worldview.”


    Comment by steve taylor — May 8, 2013 @ 3:04 pm

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