Monday, July 23, 2012

"In order to get community right, we must reclaim communion."

Russell Moore:
In recent years, sociologists and educators across the political spectrum have encouraged families to do one simple thing to maintain connection with one another: eat. The issue isn't just eating, of course. That's a non-negotiable for all biological organisms. The issue instead is to eat together. The family dinner might seem cute and outdated in a mobile, crazy-busy current age, but there's something of importance here. Parents often wolf down, in a car seat, a bagged meal they've ordered through a clown's mouth, in order to get to another soccer practice. Children often eat dinner from a desk, alone, in their rooms, texting friends and playing video-games. A family dinner, though, creates a connection. As Christians, we ought to know this, from the church.

Too often, when we speak of "creating community" in our churches, we're talking about some new program, a new set of small groups we've copied from some other church doing such things well. The Bible, though, says little or nothing about "small groups." The focus of community is instead more often around the table, around a common meal. The Apostle Paul, from start to finish, warned the church at Corinth about their divisions, divisions that didn't just inhibit their mission but also proclaimed something false, at the most primal level, about the gospel itself (1 Corinthians 1:10–13). That division showed up significantly in the perversion of the communion table (1 Corinthians 11:18). The people were using the Lord's Supper to feed their own individual appetites rather than caring for one another (11:20–21). When this happens, the act of communion becomes something other than "the Lord's Supper you eat," the apostle warned. To restore their fellowship with Christ and with one another, the church had to gather at the table, the way King Jesus invites.
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