Tuesday, September 05, 2006

the Bible as living word in community: idea 3

The Sunday before, ask males in the church to bring something from their shed (a tool, a hobby, a tool). This can become a hugely energising exercise for some – we ended up with cars and boats inside the church.

So all of a sudden you are surrounded by the Monday to Saturday world of half of your church community. You are faced with the Bible needing to be lived in this real world.

bikes and bread250.jpg Now, try and serve communion … white table cloth in contrast to tools and engines, bread in squares or wafers in contrast to greasy hands, an altar in contrast to a shed … and you are face to face with the gulf between church and everyday life.

How did it get this way? How did an everyday meal shared by Jesus become a ritual separated from life? What is the theological values that drove the introduction of altars and whiteness and wafers? Here is how I tried to make the links. It was hard, hard theological work!

And we have communion;
Perhaps it feels a bit strange to have a communion table in front of a shed;
To think about remembering Jesus, with kayaks and boats, bikes and benches.

Yet surely it’s actually a great place to have a communion table, because it reminds us that in Jesus, God came to walk on our earth; to walk among our every day lifes, to be with us, not only at church, on Sunday, but in our hobbies and relaxation;

Which for me offers a whole new perspective on Remember me;

When Jesus says, in 1 Corinthians 11:
Take, eat, do this in memory of me;
We’re being asked; to remember Jesus not only on Sunday, but also on Monday,
to remember the life of Jesus who probably had a shed, where he cut wood, banged nails.

We’re being asked to remember Jesus who enjoyed male-male friendships that were committed, intimate, honest, open and dependent.

When Jesus offers us the cup, as the new covenant in my blood; in remembrance of me.

We remember Jesus, who in his death and resurrection invited us, in John 15:15, to no longer be slaves, but be Jesus friends.

This communion invites us to accept Jesus as our friend;
That by taking bread and drinking the cup; we are entering into friendship – committed, intimate, honest, open, dependent – with Jesus.

This post is part of a series of posts on how to use the Bible in community. Idea 1 – communal lectio divina is here. Idea 2- Biblical discernment at church meetings is here. Faced with caricatures of “preaching as monologue” OR “discussion as sharing of ignorance”, we need new skills and capacities to preach the Bible as a living word in community.)

Posted by steve at 01:17 PM


  1. What about guys that make fruit for their hobby?

    And flowers… and stuff…

    Okay… I’ve got the picture… this is from my garage… however there is no grease:

    Comment by Keith — September 6, 2006 @ 3:53 pm

  2. I need to add that the fruit thing isn’t finished. Went to the store to get some more fruit to paint, and picked up a kiwi and thought of you Steve. However, I didn’t purchase it… should I?

    Comment by Keith — September 6, 2006 @ 3:56 pm

  3. Been reading your blogg Steve. The work theme at communion reminded me of talking through an idea with Peter Graystone some time back – we used a workbench with a huge G clamp on it for the communion table!

    Comment by Olive Fleming Drane — September 8, 2006 @ 4:38 am

  4. Interesting thought about the workbench, i wonder what other styles of communion tables could be used in a church service?

    How bout from a office desk for an accountant?
    How bout from a butchers block for a butcher?
    How bout from a coffin for an undertaker?
    How bout from a backpack for a Department of conservation worker?
    How bout from a couple of small childrens desks for a teacher?
    How bout from the back of a ute for a farmer?
    How bout from a stack of beer crates for a brewer?
    How bout from a wheelbarrow for a retired garden enthusiast?
    How bout from an old worn out couch for a university student?

    Comment by Jas — September 8, 2006 @ 9:00 am

  5. that’s great Jas. i like changing the table far more than those ideas around changing the elements to coke and chips or whatever.

    do you think we could weave this into our annual workday service? do communion and have various work tables around the church. sounds brilliant.

    Comment by steve — September 8, 2006 @ 9:20 am

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