HI guys, we are running a bit late in all the end of year madness, but here is your first one for NOV! Second will follow!
“I see the hunger for an experience of intimacy and the sacred reflected in the culture at large. Our renewed interest in the local, the artisanal, the reclaimed, seems to me to be a yearning for a life that takes place at a smaller scale. We want to know the person who made our bread in a bakery, not a sprawling, steely factory in some distant, nameless place. We want to know the smell of the earth where our vegetables came from. We want to make things from scratch. In short, we want to know ourselves and one another.”
(Rev. Emily M.D. Scott, Founding Pastor of St. Lydia’s, a “Dinner Church”)
St. Lydia’s in Brooklyn, New York is a “Dinner Church.” In part, Rev. Emily M.D. Scott, St. Lydia’s founding pastor, describes this as an economic and theological necessity: their congregation is small because building space in Brooklyn is incredibly expensive, but more deeply, because they believe in the value of life at a micro-scale, with a proximity that begets intimacy with God and neighbour. What is a Dinner Church, according to Scott? A deliberate opportunity to ‘know the other’ at the smallest level possible, sitting across from one another at a common table. In her mind, this intimate proximity creates massive space for the presence of God to work in a community of faith. As Scott wrote recently in the Huffington Post, “A Dinner Church…means that we gather each week to share what we call a ‘sacred meal:’ a worship service that takes place around the table. This meal is patterned after those shared by Christians in the first few centuries of the church, which evolved into our current day communion celebrations with participants sharing the bread and the cup.”
A Dinner Church taps into the growing hunger within our global culture for a place to be known, a literal table that is a “third place” (Google the sociology behind our community’s name if you never had – it’s fascinating!) to belong within. In an increasingly wired, connected, massive world, an experience of belonging on an intimate level, face-to-face, simply cannot be replicated. The depth of relationship, laughter, and connection present while sharing food and drink around a table, talking about God, our lives, and everything else under the sun, can not be over-emphasized: The Kingdom of God comes near around a table. It literally is ‘at-hand.’
Who are you eating and drinking with? Where are you sitting? What tables have ‘become Church’ recently for you? Perhaps the Kingdom of God is closer than you think, a mere invitation away to join the dinner party, where all are welcome.