While in no way wishing to suggest that anyone should not “celebrate” the Lord’s Supper with a bit of bread or cracker and a few drops of juice or wine, as seems to be the common practice in many churches, may I share some of the ways we choose to celebrate and remember our Lord with food and drink?
Gathering with Believers
Sometimes we gather together with other believers in a cafe in an inner city neighborhood to be present in the neighborhood, to patronize the struggling cafe owner and to eat together, catch up with each other, discuss the Bible and pray. On some of those occasions, we share a piece of unleavened middle-Eastern style flat bread and think of Jesus’ love for us and the people around us in the cafe and in the neighborhood.
On other occasions, we load up the car with coats, sweatshirts, tarps, bottled water and small bags of potato chips and head to the haunts of the homeless. In warm weather, water and potato chips and “would you like a pair of clean socks to go with that?” seems about right.
Sitting in a steepled building with stained glass remembrances of Jesus’ life while munching a bit of bread and sipping a bit of juice somehow does not help us catch a glimpse of Jesus nearly so easily as munching some potato chips and sipping from a bottle of water alongside a group of people who live in the streets, as the coastal breezes waft the ever-present stench of urine from the nearby walls and bushes over our little group.
“God bless you,” they say in unison. “God bless you,” we reply. “We pray for you. We’ll see you again, soon.”
Gathering with the Neighbors
We also remember Jesus when we invite people from our neighborhood for food events (see the “Getting to Know Our Neighbors” series on Graceground) in our home, in our yard, in our driveway and in our street. Few remember what we ate. They remember that we gathered over food and drink and shared our lives.
We don’t need a “spiritual agenda”. The Christians who ask us if we “share the Gospel” have something else in mind than what happens at these events. Of course we share the Gospel – the good news! Of course we remember Jesus – in ways we think Jesus would like to be remembered: over food and drink.
Our food events often include those who have been largely overlooked by the church – not only the homeless, but also the poor, those who will never enter a church building and our LGBT friends. For many of these people, we are the only followers of Jesus with whom they gather, the only followers of Jesus with whom they eat and remember Jesus.
While not wishing to cast apsersions on those who choose to discuss theology and church doctrine and convince folks of their utter sinfulness, even though we have often observed that those methods rarely produce the desired results, we choose to follow in the steps of our Rabbi Jesus, as much as lies within in. Ah yes, the “deeper magic”, as my old friend called it.
People are Hungry for Jesus
Our city is hungry for a glimpse of Jesus. As we gather with our neighbors, the homeless and those overlooked and rejected by the church over a simple meal or even over a bottle of water and a few potato chips, we remember the One who not only created us, but who walked among us and gave Himself for us, and together we say “God bless us”.