The early church met at the dinner table. The Greco-Roman meal, to be specific – the early Christians took the custom of important men conducting their business while they ate and drank and were merry, and they subverted it. Women were welcome. Slaves were welcome. Everyone was welcome. (Sound familiar??) They conducted the business of the church – singing and praying and telling stories and reminding one another who and whose they were – while they ate and drank and were merry.
This wasn’t some “alternative” form of worship, because it really is how the church began, but it certainly was an experiment. Christianity itself was an experiment. The intentional rehearsing of the Kin-dom of God on earth is always an experiment, even now.
Christianity has grown and matured in the 2000 years since those early dinner parties, but it hasn’t all been for the better. As with most institutions, growth in the church has also led to more rigidity – the creeds guide our faith even while they stunt our imaginations about the expansiveness of who God is…we build beautiful sanctuaries focused around the cross, but that focus leaves us looking at the backs of one another’s heads…increase in membership numbers leads to more services, which also disconnects us from those who worship at a different time.
This year, for mid-week Lenten services, we’re going back to the beginning. We’re going back to the dinner table, in fact. This year, for mid-week Lenten services, we’re having dinner church. More details will follow, but the important things are that we will gather, as the family we are, around tables…that everyone will be welcome…that we will conduct the business of the church – singing and praying and telling stories and reminding one another who and whose we are – while we eat and drink and be merry.
We will be intentional about using our imaginations, as we rehearse the Kin-dom of God. We will be intentional about engaging face-to-face. We will be intentional about connecting with those members of our faith community – of our faith family – that we don’t know very well, or even at all.
It will be an experiment. It will be wonderful. I’ll be there. I hope you’ll be there, too.
In the Light of Christ,