Rest and Bread [09-09-09]
I went and found Laura Ruth before service to confirm that I could move the long table out of the chapel and back into Fellowship Hall.
Laura Ruth said, "Were you here last week? I feel like I haven't seen you in a month."
I talked about Convo some, and said of course the Bible Study wasn't going to be as awesome as last time 'cause last time we had Amy-Jill Levine. Laura Ruth looked blank. "New York Jew, specializing in New Testament Studies..." Still nothing. I said I had the DVDs from last Convo, so I would lend them to her :)
Tonight at Rest and Bread, we are wrestling with the word "faith." Then we will practice our faith through the practice of prayer and in the act of communion. We will also praise God for Molly's return.
We pray you join us.
Sacred Text: Matthew 17:14-21
I noticed that when he read the Scripture, Keith said "A person knelt..." though he also said "son."
In her Reflection, Laura Ruth referred to the parent as "father," though she mostly said "kid" for the child, and at the end of her reflection she referred to God as "Her."
She had 3 things that struck her from the Scripture passage:
1) Was Jesus doing health care for all? (I thought, "health care for all who ask for it.")
2) The child was possessed and then dispossessed -- it is difficult to be ill, and it is difficult to be well.
3) The disciples didn't understand ... and she said she imagines the disciples doing big hands and "Shazam!" which irritated me because I don't think the disciples were quite such oblivious expletives, though I can visualize it better now that I've had some time to reflect on the whole reflection, specifically her closing thought that, "Faith is much harder to learn than moves."
The Good News is: we are all in the process of coming to know the Divine.
(I have come to be a really big fan of sermons/homilies/reflections/whatever that explicitly aim to bring Good News to the listeners.)
Opening Worship at Convo had the traditional Communion liturgy (right down to "bread and wine"), which of course made the CWMers I was with really uncomfortable, with the blood and the broken body and all. I talked to Marla some later in the weekend, saying that I wonder how you reconcile the fact that such language and theology can be really painful for people with the fact that we have this inherited Scripture and tradition of what Jesus said. She said that she doubts Jesus "really" said those words and that the community was articulating the message/memory of that night in a way that was meaningful for them, and that we are called to discern the meaning/message in what we have inherited and articulate in a way that is Good News to people now (for example, we say "kindom" instead of "kingdom" because we're not sure that a Davidic king would be Good News for people today, but we are sure that a world in which we are all family would be Good News).
Remembering Convo and the two very different Communion services we had at Opening and Closing worship, I listened attentively to the Communion liturgy at Rest and Bread tonight, to hear what it is that we actually say and what someone coming in new might hear. (Because I have such a low theology of Communion, I often don't pay much attention to the words of the liturgy, because it's not a ritual that's meaningful to me.) Breaking the bread, Laura Ruth said, "given in remembrance of me; every time you do this, remember me" (she was clearly not reading from the printed liturgy and not quite remembering exactly what it was she was supposed to be saying; I looked at the liturgy after service and it's just "This is my body, given for you") and then "my blood, the blood of the covenant, poured out for the forgiveness of sins." I would really really like more explanation of what we believe and why beyond "broken bodies save souls." (Yes, like masculine God language, I think blood atonement theology is moving from "I have no problem with this, but I know people who do," to "I actually have a problem with this.") So that'll be an email tomorrow (because I am clearly not yet caught up on my sleep debt).
We serve Communion to each other and are instructed to say, "The Bread of Heaven." I said, "Laura Ruth, this is the Bread of Life, that you might have life abundant." She said, "I like that..." in this soft sort of impressed tone. Yes, routinely worshiping at at least three different churches means I acquire a lot of liturgy :)
Sidebar: Apparently Thursday morning prayer is at 7am? So we're back to it being something I could technically attend, though I don't think getting up an extra 20+ minutes early is going to happen.
Molly's back from sabbatical. She asked me how my summer was. Yeah, I don't have a succinct answer for that...