Today in our worship we gather around a table. This is no ordinary table.
It is the table of the Lord. Last week, along a dusty Emmaus road, this Lord served both as guide and host. This week this same Lord is both the entrance and the meal for this table. Around his table from this bread, a community is born. So what does this community look like, feel like?
And, now 2000 years on in the scheme of the history of the world, we really are still the early church?
The theologian Karl Rahner offers this wonderful imaginative depiction of our life: “that, if the world goes on another 40,000 years, these will be considered “the early days” of the church. Our story, the story of each congregation, doesn’t have to say that we were perfect. We already know
we aren’t. But someday someone will tell someone else who needs to hear it that we strove mightily to live out the gospel. There will be stories about different people and the things that happened to them; the many
people who are/were this congregation, who have worked faithfully to live out the gospel message of love, justice, mercy and peace.”
This early church, as we look back on generation before generation with a touch of nostalgia, will remind us of a community that had regular fellowship in many settings. The experience of sharing life was so central to our faith life we saw each other often in worship and in eating “the sacred meal.” We shared our possessions with those in need. We also continued steadfastly in prayer. We, in the Uniting Church, call it Worship, Witness and Service.
Whatever ways the church has failed in the last two thousand years: in religious wars and persecutions, inquisitions, and hypocrisy, it has still passed on the message of God’s saving love, God’s forgiveness and grace, God’s new life and hope in Jesus Christ. The memory is still alive. Each time we gather we do this in remembrance of Jesus, in remembrance of who we are.
What a difference broken bread makes.