When you read “Acts of the Apostles”, you get a very different sense of church and worship. Written about an experience so close to the teaching of Jesus, the sense of movement and faith is very different from what we experience centuries past that time.
Even worship seemed different. They would gather in people's homes, break bread, sing songs, listen to scripture and a preacher. And pray. Lots and lots of prayer. And lots of stories about what God and the Holy Spirit had been doing in their lives and world. It would have been an exciting time being caught up with something new and bold. Swept up in the Spirit's draft and carried to experiences and people unknown.
I am currently thinking that next fall I might lead an exploration of Acts, to find what they meant by church, faith, and discipleship. If you are interested, let me know. And be prepared to tell me when might work for you.
But before that, for just a few Sundays, let's worship in a style reminiscent of those early days, when “They devoted themselves to the apostles' teaching and fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers. Awe came upon everyone, because many wonders and signs were being done by the apostles. Day by day, as they spent much time together in the temple, they broke bread at home and ate their food with glad and generous hearts, praising God and having the goodwill of all the people. And day by day the Lord added to their number those who were being saved.” [Acts 2]
For the four Sundays of August and the first Sunday of September we will worship in Fellowship Hall. There we will be able to face people (remember worshiping in the Chapel?), gather informally, and then break bread with joy, sing, pray, and hear of life with God.
The plan is to create a sacred space in Fellowship Hall that can hold worship that will be image rich, filled with joy and song, good for young and old, and refreshing. Indeed, we hope to have the children with us, sometimes with their own things to do. Let's face it, anyone who has gone to a church camp or retreat, or worshiped in wider church setting or as a small gathering of just a few know that these times of worship are wonderful and inspiring. We might not want them always, but they are invigorating and uplifting, in part because they are rare.
Part of the plan is too include the “breaking of bread”. In Acts and in other literature the early church would break bread in an Agape Meal, part ritual communion and part meal. For us, we want to have our Hospitality before, during, and after worship. A simple offering of juice, coffee, rolls/muffins/bread, and the crackers, brownies, and fruit we usually have. There would be chairs and tables to facilitate this.
Amy and I are considering themes for the summer and will need people who would like to see this work. Could you share visual art, music, baking, hospitality, or time to this venture? We will need voices to speak and people to work and eyes to imagine and people to worship. Want to be a part of this? If so, let us know.
We are excited about this. We ask that you pray with us before hand that our worship will be meaningful. And then join us Sunday Mornings as we “eat our food with glad and generous hearts and praising God” in song and word and fellowship.
For those who find the pews more comfortable, we will have them again for Gathering Sunday on September 11.
It will be a cool time...
And Church is filled with many bits of life and reflections of who they are. On June 12 you can see a wonderful range of who we are. The morning starts with music, provided by Bill Fraser and Kevin Brown in a Second Sunday Concert. Then there is more music as part of our worship. During worship we will sing, pray, her God's word and a reflection on it. We will give our selves and our gifts. We will celebrate those in our church family who are graduating. Then we will meet as a congregation for our Annual Meeting. There we can consider what we have done and what we will do and who will do it. Later there will be fun when the Youth Group gathers for kick ball and food.
Are you thankful for Bethany Church? Be sure to tell those who mean the most to you. Be sure to mention this to the Spirit that infuses us all.