love feasts

be aware of God’s presence within each person and be thankful for the food

Community is central to humanity. We need one another. We need to know we belong, that we are loved, just as we are.  Community is also central to the Christian way of life.  Jesus gathered the twelve and the women who journeyed with him into a community—which, in turn, expanded to include all who responded to Jesus’ message of love and hope.  The early church continued to follow Jesus by forming communities. The love they had for one another became a beacon of light, drawing more and more people into the communion of love. Our metaphor of the Trinity affirms that the very heart of God is loving, mutual relationship, constantly outpouring and drawing all of creation into the dance of love.  In our baptismal Covenant we promise, among other things, to continue in the apostles’ teaching, in the breaking of the bread and in the prayers, that we, too, may best radiate God’s love.

Here at St. Simon’s we have experienced something many communities of faith yearn for:  we are growing.  We are blessed by the presence of people who have been here a very long time, by those who have just arrived and by everyone in between!  And as joyful as this reality is, there is also an inherent challenge.  It is easy for a growing church to become a place where you no longer know people.  And if you’re new, it can be difficult to get to know people just through Sunday mornings.  Let’s face it, most of us don’t wake up early and make our way to church just so we can pass by one another, sharing the same physical space for brief window, on our way to the next thing. If we don’t have a true sense of community, of belonging and care, then we are missing out on the abundant life we are invited to live.

Community doesn’t just happen without intention, not real community anyway.  We human beings are designed to have connection with one another—sharing our joys and our sorrows, our hopes and our fears. And very often, community happens around food.  Think of the abundant images of Jesus sharing a meal, even with those that others were willing to reject. As Richard Rohr reminds us:

The early Christians shared agape (love) feasts in their small communities. Somehow eating together creates a space where we can be vulnerable and present. By sharing our food, or by coming empty handed and receiving from another’s bounty, we enter true communion.  [Rohr goes on to encourage that when we do gather over a meal together we might] be aware of God’s presence within each person and be thankful for the food that makes life possible and the love that makes life meaningful.

One of the ways we can deepen our sense of connection and belonging is by sharing meals together. On June 5, when we shift to a single 9am Eucharist, we will share a potluck meal together immediately following the service—we’ll be joined by the Presbyterian Korean congregation that worships in our space Sunday afternoons. Our Sunday potlucks are a wonderful tradition inherited from those in our midst who came from St. John’s.

On June 8, we’re trying something new.  Bari Flores and Margo Weston are hosting Walk in Wednesdaywhere anyone who wishes can come share supper together at St. Simon’s.  The parish hall doors open at 5:30pm and the end time is unclear.  Pulled pork and beef sandwiches will be offered, and we’re encouraging everyone to come bringing a dish to share, if you can, and something you enjoy drinking.  We’re hoping for good weather, so we can spill out onto the lawn.  Most of all, the idea is to keep it simple and just enjoy one another.  All ages and stages welcome.  If desired, it could become a regular part of our life together.  So come when it works for you, and let’s see what might emerge out of our own love feasts!

Hope to see you Sunday,

Elizabeth Jameson

05.26.16