Do This In Remembrance Of Me

Jesus knew that the Father had put him in complete charge of everything that he came from God and was on his way back to God. So he got up from the supper table, set aside his robe, and put on an apron. Then he poured water into a basin and began to wash the feet of the disciples, drying them with his apron….

After he had finished washing their feet, he took his robe, put it back on, and went back to his place at the table.

Then he said, “Do you understand what I have done to you? You address me as ‘Teacher’ and ‘Master,’ and rightly so. That is what I am. So if I, the Master and Teacher, washed your feet, you must now wash each other’s feet. I’ve laid down a pattern for you. What I’ve done, you do.

… If you understand what I’m telling you, act like it—and live a blessed life. (John 13:3-5, 12-15, 17)

While the Eucharist rightly stands out in brilliant light, there was more going on in the Upper Room than just the special meal. If we are going to engage the spiritual practice of the Eucharist for the sake of others, we need to include the whole scene. For worship that leads to service, we need the chalice and broken bread and the towel of Jesus. The body and the blood of Jesus represent more than his death on the cross. They signify everything that made his death effectual and worthy as a sacrifice: his matchless life of love, service and obedience to his father.

Together the towel and meal show us how to participate in the spiritual practice of Eucharist so that we take on the desire, power and means to live a Christlike life. (Giving Church Another Chance, p. 142-143 – Todd Hunter)

 

Practices For A Life Epiphany

During the Season of Epiphany we are looking at the ways we steward a whole life. Todd suggests a few very simple spiritual practices to consider incorporating into our every day spheres of life. These practices alert us to ways we might live more deeply into the uniqueness of our personhood, calling and co-operative friendship with Jesus for the sake of others.

  • Notice others; make acquaintances
  • Live a humble life of love among them
  • Listen, pray, dialog (without pressure for answers or controlling outcomes; once you pick up a conversation to steer it, it becomes a pitch)
  • Serve in small, genuine ways
  • Love and reveal God’s love

In moments of quiet thoughtfully ask yourself:

Who do you notice in your life ?

What has God given you in the way of natural abilities and spiritual gifts through which you can look for opportunities to love and serve them?


Listen to Todd’s sermon – Stewards of Natural Abilities & Spiritual Gifts (mp3)

Complete listing of sermons – click here

‘Do’ versus ‘Live’

“There is a huge difference between Christianity viewed as something to do versus something to live. The word “do” implies rules, regulations, and sheer obedience. “Live,” on the other hand, calls to mind holism, groundedness, and thoughtfulness – it implies organic rhythms and routines.” – Todd Hunter (Giving Church Another Chance, Chapter 1)

For instance we do our quiet times of prayer or Bible study thinking that “now I’ve got to get back to the real business of real life in the rough and tumble work life”. This pattern often leads to what Henry David Thoreau suggested: Most men lead lives of quiet desperation and go to the grave with the song still in them. On the other hand, seeing Christian spirituality as whole-life, as including quiet time, but not being reduced to it, releases the Spirit-song in us. It teaches us that the grounds for spiritual development into Christlikeness and the most effective soil for spiritual practices are the people and events of our daily lives as we presently experience them.

A focus on life does this: the silence one may practice in the morning becomes, imperceptibly over time, an inner quality of being—gentle, humble, present, alert—that ones takes with them into the rhythms and routines of their existing life.

So sure—do quiet time, etc…but live a life as a follower of Jesus—and do it in such a way that others experience your life as for their good.

– Todd Hunter

A Poem for Pentecost

Unless the eye catch fire,
The God will not be seen.
Unless the ear catch fire
The God will not be heard.
Unless the tongue catch fire
The God will not be named.
Unless the heart catch fire,
The God will not be loved.
Unless the mind catch fire,
The God will not be known.

William Blake (1757-1827) from Pentecost

On the day of Pentecost the disciples found themselves to be in a highly flammable condition. They had been obedient to Jesus’ command to wait for the empowerment of the Holy Spirit and they had gathered together in continual prayer—a dangerous mix. On the day that the Holy Fire fell, their eyes, ears, tongues, hearts and minds were ignited by flames that continued to spread through 3,000 parched souls like a California wildfire driven by a raging Santa Ana. That fire remains, to this day, uncontained.

In his poem Pentecost, William Blake’s repetition of the word, “unless” might be received by the reader as an onerous, guilty-inducing, commission. Unless his repetition of the word “catch” is given equal time, we might tend to turn our soggy pockets inside out and offer up a defeated shrug in lieu of prayer. But, we cannot set our selves on fire any more than Simon the sorcerer could buy rights to the Holy Spirit.

So how do we catch fire?  We catch a cold because our resistance is down and in a similar way this is how we catch fire. We ask God to search our hearts and to reveal any areas of resistance to the Holy Spirit: Lord, in what ways have I saturated my eyes, ears, tongue, heart and mind in a fire-retardant? By works? Addictions? Busy-ness?  How might I be trying to ignite my own fire by rubbing together the sticks of moralism and performance? Maybe I’ve just resigned myself to a dark, dank climate of the soul.

Once these areas of resistance are revealed, we confess them as sin and to the degree that we are able, we place ourselves downwind of God’s all consuming fire. In a posture of receptivity, we receive God’s grace and forgiveness. We ask for the Holy Spirit to make us kindling, to set our hearts on fire for God and his Kingdom. And when the rainy seasons come we ask each other to help us stoke the flames.

May the Spirit who set the Church on fire upon the Day of Pentecost bring the world alive with the love of the risen Christ.

Amen

– Patricia Conneen