Thursday, June 19, 2014

Questions for Communion

Our scripture texts for this Sunday are Luke 22:14-21 and 1 Corinthians 11:17-28. I'd encourage you to also read Matthew and Mark's accounts of the institution of the Lord's Supper. You can read all of them here.

Last week and this week, we are discussing the sacred ordinances of our faith: the two practices that Baptists, historically, have upheld as central to and formative of the life of faith, particularly as we practice it together in community. Last week we explored the first of these, baptism; this week we will explore the ongoing practice Jesus gave us to shape our life and our worship, the practice of communion (or the Lord's Supper, or Eucharist).

I would invite you to reflect on some of these questions as we prepare to come together:

  • What was your experience of this practice growing up? 
  • When did you first participate in it? 
  • How was it explained to you? 
  • What did you call it--Eucharist, the Lord's Supper, communion, or something else? Do you think what you call the meal impacts how you understand it?
  • What do you remember of the taste of the bread and of the juice/wine?
  • When you come into worship and learn it is our Sunday to celebrate communion (we typically only do this once a month), what is your reaction? Are you excited? Relieved? Perturbed? Something else?
  • What has been your most meaningful experience of this practice?
  • Why do you think this is the thing Jesus said we should do in remembrance of him? Why is this meal so central to our faith?

These should be more than enough questions to get you thinking, reflecting, and mulling. If you can't be with us Sunday (or even if you can!), feel free to post any of your responses in the comments section of the blog to start our dialogue. But I hope to see you Sunday as we continue this exploration together!

Friday, June 6, 2014

Global Pentecost Images

This week's scripture as we celebrate Pentecost (don't forget to wear RED to worship on Sunday!) is John 7:37-39 and Acts 2:1-21, which you can read here.

Pentecost is one of those events that defies our conventional categories, defies description. All the writer of Acts could say definitively was what it was "like"--"like" divided tongues of flame, "like" a great wind that filled the room. I wonder what it was really like?

As we approach this day when we celebrate the birth of the global church, check out these imaginings of Pentecost from artists around the world.

 Batik by Solomon Raj of India
 Contemporary Art by Piotr Uklanski of Poland
 By Egino Weinert of Germany
 Fabric art by Fiona Langham (South Africa)
 Icon by unknown artist, Republic of Georgia
 He Qi, China
Alexander Sadoyan, Armenia
 "Tongues of Flame" by unknown aboriginal Australian 
Mandala by South African Adrian van Breda 
Finally, of all the American renditions, I found this one most intriguing because it is so different, color-wise especially, from normal Pentecost depictions--by Jennifer Hunger Jones