Monday, September 22, 2008

where did all the stories go?

Recently I've been reading about the early church, in particular the beginnings of the Sacrament of the Lord's Supper. There seems to be new scholarship suggesting that the celebration of the Lord's Supper was part of a larger meal. The part I am interested in is that "in the beginning" story telling accompanied the remembrance and celebration of the Lord's Supper.

As the church became "institutionalized" this story telling element of the meal was lost. Oh, yes the minister who presides at the table tells the story of the meal.....but worshippers do not speak during the Sacrament.

What would happen if we infused the Sacrament with story telling? How would our stories of God's power, grace and activity in our lives transform the Sacrament of Communion?

I am currently pondering how I can help the church I serve to encoropate story telling in the midst of worship.

Thsi topic came up during a meeting of the Session. Several elders were concerned about the negative and critical attitude of a number of our members. We decided that we must begin to tell our stories....the postive, powerful stories of God's work in our lives. These stories have the power to redirect bad attitudes.


Jared said...

While this is more drastic of a change than most people have the chance to do, our "new, modern" worship service includes a buffet-style breakfast served about 15 minutes prior to the beginning of worship. Congregants get their breakfast, and take it to a round table in the room. During that time, we share stories of our week and touch base with each other. Lots of hugs. Lots of touching. Lots of bread-breaking and cup-drinking.

A few minutes later, announcements and words of welcome kick in, and then the music starts. Everyone is still around the same tables - sitting in worship with those they just shared a meal with.

We've actually started referring to breakfast as "communion."

Stushie said...

Sometimes I ask church members to come up during the sermon and talk about an incident in their lives that is relevant to the sermon. being the pastor, you get to hear so many good stories from the congregation. I let them know before the worship service that I'm going to ask them to come up and share. The congregation love these moments of faith affirmation which I believe is an active communion of the saints.

S'onnie said...

Growing up in a baptist church communion was a formal quiet affair for us and never about story telling but I like the thought as it literally communing with each other.

I think one of the most significant communions I ever took part in was in a field at a music festival with 2000 other people where we did share stories about our relationship with god etc. Plus drinking coke and eating chips in place of bread and wine was pretty cool