With this post, I begin exploring the nature of the church (also this same post is is being discussed on another blog I contribute to called A New Kind of Church, which is being rebirthed so give it time). As we know, the church has looked very different in every age and, if we were willing to admit it, had a very different theology in each of these ages. The goal is not to find our ideal model in some other era but to recapitulate the radicalness and revolutionary ways in which gospel changed the world during these various times. Thus, I start off my journey with the first century and will begin working my way forward through history.
One of the first things that I see as we start in the first century is the Eucharist/communion/breaking bread/common table fellowship. This was at the heart of the community. It was a whole meal with a blessing of bread and cup in the middle of the dinner. It was a table of confession of belief and sin, a table of forgiveness and peace, a table of mutual participation in pain and hurt, and a table of survival (possibly the only meal anyone would have especially in the impoverished and highly persecuted areas).Such a scenario does not work very well in most areas of western society, although it is still very much alive and viable in other areas of the world. So, what can we in the west draw from this way of doing church in our day to understand how we can act in order to change lives and world?