I bet when Jesus had conversations with himself they were really productive
If you have any question about what kind of person Jesus is, remember this, his ministry began and ended with food! It started with the wedding at Cana and Ended with the Last Supper
New International Version
2 On the third day a wedding took place at Cana in Galilee. Jesus’ mother was there, 2 and Jesus and his disciples had also been invited to the wedding. 3 When the wine was gone, Jesus’ mother said to him, “They have no more wine.”
4 “Woman,[a] why do you involve me?” Jesus replied. “My hour has not yet come.”
5 His mother said to the servants, “Do whatever he tells you.”
6 Nearby stood six stone water jars, the kind used by the Jews for ceremonial washing, each holding from twenty to thirty gallons.[b]
7 Jesus said to the servants, “Fill the jars with water”; so they filled them to the brim.
8 Then he told them, “Now draw some out and take it to the master of the banquet.”
They did so, 9 and the master of the banquet tasted the water that had been turned into wine. He did not realize where it had come from, though the servants who had drawn the water knew. Then he called the bridegroom aside 10 and said, “Everyone brings out the choice wine first and then the cheaper wine after the guests have had too much to drink; but you have saved the best till now.”
11 What Jesus did here in Cana of Galilee was the first of the signs through which he revealed his glory; and his disciples believed in him.
Food is good, it is one of the few things we do that is both necessary for our very existence, and pleasurable at the same time. Whenever I worry about who God is, I remember that God invented chocolate….what kind of God creates so many different foods with so many varieties in the world? I’m afraid to say if humans created food we would have created one substance that is of some nutritional value, and bland. Our God is more creative than that.
In my family we have something called food tripping, where you describe a food you love so much you space out from remembering it….
In fact, just one food can elevate an entire meal. Its likely your favorite restaurant isn’t really your favorite because everything tastes good there, but rather because they serve your favorite food. (I’m actually a sucker for either awesome bread or desserts) For example when I make pizza if I can have fresh basil or fresh mozerella the pizza tastes better–all it takes is one good ingredient to elevate the entire pizza 🙂
Recently there has been a growing fascination to where food comes from, whether it is local or organic, how it is processed, and lets not forget the Food Network. The source of our Food is compelling.
The reason why we are so fascinated with food, is that the more we know the food’s story, the better it tastes! We take pleasure in things that are creative acts. Things that are unique. This is why my grandmother’s bisqick coffee cake and my father’s bread taste different than any other versions of this food (even though, both recipes are available to everyone). Knowing that your food came from the local farm via the local farmer’s market, learning about food makes it taste better.
Now imagine that you are at a wedding and you get Jesus wine. A wine that serves to both elevate the entire meal but also just tastes better because its from JESUS! The source is good, therefore the food is good. Isn’t the spirit of the meal half of how a meal tastes anyway?
What if we thought about churches more as meals than programs. What if we tried to serve up our favorite pieces of worship–1 or 2 things, with Jesus as the source. What if instead of trying to offer a buffet of everything (or even the most modern whatevers) we served a nourishing meal with the hospitality that is in Christ’s spirit, one that we can offer in JOY!
After all, this is a meal we are celebrating, its abundance, its being drunk on the Holy Spirit, its understanding that the invitation is from Christ, and no other can make it better.
I think if we talked more about the source of our nourishment, and if we served the love with which it was made, church will be transformed from a boring form of sustenance that simply gives us the basic nourishment we need, to one where JESUS gives us the SPIRITs and we are invited to CELEBRATE THE LOVE TOGETHER.
How wonderful that would be!PS Check out this Ted Talk There is some interesting claims about the creative act of humanity and how the creative act is what makes art valuable (ie why we like originals more than copies). i.e. Creativity and Relationship is what makes things pleasurable for us. We all know God is THE creator, making each of us a unique work of art, and we are invited to be co-creators with him. What kind of creative food can we serve up in church these days!!!!
Solomon built a temple, because he knew he couldn’t contain God.
Ironic as it is….
The Temple is empty, except for the 10 commandments, so that all the priest, and elders and leaders and everyone important can come into the temple for its dedication.
And the moment they call on God (we would call this the Prayer of Illumination) God’s Cloud fills the entire temple
And when the priests came out of the Holy Place,a cloud filled the house of the Lord, 11 so that the priests could not stand to minister because of the cloud, for the glory of the Lord filled the house of the Lord. 1 Kings 8:10-11
God is all that is in the temple! The temple wasn’t big enough to hold God, yet God filled it! That’s why it wasn’t about limiting God, but noticing how infinite God is.
This is (one) story of how God came to dwell on Earth.
Another is Jesus
Another is Communion
Another is baptism
Another is us–the people, the body of Christ, Christ’s promise that whenever we gather in his name, he’ll be present.
With Christ, God was invited to be present in church, but not just in the building but in our very relationships.
To me Church is like a Wedding, a Memorial and a Grand Opening, it’s like a party,
like a neighbor welcoming you in for cookies (fresh baked) and like a playground for children. It should feel like a space that can be sacred and quiet and joyful noise-y.
Church should feel like there is no “right” way to behave, just respect, love and mutual upbuilding. It should feel like a place to ask questions, to stumble and fall (figuratively and literally). It should feel active, alive and full of stories. It should feel imperfect and incomplete (because we all are), it should be rich in tradition yet lacking in all stuffiness. To me church’s should feel more like AA, College Ministries and
Children’s Museums. It should feel like birthdays and Christmases, Yoga and Meditation, Gardens and Sunsets. It should be full of music and laughter, whispers and wahoos, hugs and kisses. Every single door of the church should be wide open, it should be advertised on craigslist and facebook, there should be huge signs welcoming everyone thru the door, and it should be as easy for crawling babies to find a comfortable spot as those in wheelchairs or who have to pace constantly.
It should be a place to find surrogate grandparents, helpful aunts and uncles and annoying brothers and sisters….It should be a place where interruptions are welcome, surprises are a good thing and change is associated with growth! Church should be Home; at least that’s what it is for me.
I think we’ve made a mistake,” he says softly. “We’ve all started to put down the virtues of the other factions in the process of bolstering our own. I don’t want to do that. I want to brave, and selfless, and smart, and kind, and honest.” p. 405
p. 405 Divergent by Veronica Roth
My family, when its hard to do something, says “If I’m wise and brave and kind..I will” I think the Hedges-Goettl translation for this is If I’m able to be heroic
Heroes are a weird breed, ones who are able to balance a great number of traits and ACT on what they think is right, even after they have made mistakes.
Puts the whole “being Christian” thing in a new perspective…what if “Being Christian” meant being a hero…that tend to be my interpretation 🙂
https://katyandtheword.wordpress.com/2013/07/21/church-is-not-about-belief-in-jesus/ Exactly the kind of theological thoughts that I refer to in my post about Jesus, belief and how Christianity is doing it backwards.
Here is an interesting theology that is truly a new trend.
We can see it reflected in Fantasy (which I think is primary a mirror of spirituality in the world)
Narnia, Tolkien’s elves, Oz, etc. posited that technology and progress was “taking over” and “obliterating” magic, and so magic had to be hidden and kept safe (this is also true in “Flight of Dragons!” love that movie)
Urban Fantasy (Charles de Lint and Neil Gaiman, etc) and Harry Potter signal a new thought which is that the magical/religious world is parallel to and layered with the “real” world, and once you discover it, you realize its been there all along….sounds like a conversion experience doesn’t it 🙂
I am living in parallel worlds, and I am a parallel girl…..hehehe
Jim Palmer writes “Jesus’ primary message was NOT, “Try harder; the kingdom of God is here.” Nor was it, “You have a lot of growing to do before you can ever expect to experience God’s kingdom.” Instead, Jesus said, “Repent, for the kingdom of God is here.” The word “repent” (metanoia) means to change your mind or to see things in a way you have never seen them before.” This theology of the spiritual and physical world both paralleling and overlapping in such a way that your eyes are opened to them is exactly the turn fantasy has been taking recently.
HOW COOL IS THAT!!!
The language of transformation often works against us. We sometimes speak of “spiritual growth.” The idea of “growth” implies that spirituality is a process of stages in which we make improvements or progress toward becoming something more or different than what we are right now. Consider the possibility that you were born out of the image, likeness and being of God. The image, likeness and being of God is the underlying, unchanging, and fundamental essence of who you are. The truth is that there is nothing wrong with you the way you are. You cannot be improved upon, and there is never any diminishment of who you are. There is nothing more secure than your true Self and it is never threatened.
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Picture a pastor–chances are you didn’t picture someone like me…now picture church–nope that’s not how I do that either… 🙂
You keep saying that word, I don’t think it means what you think it is
“Just because you believe in Jesus, doesn’t make you superhuman”
My husband on what congregant’s expect pastors to magically “know” without telling us…..I find this observation useful in so many situations
Whenever I talk to people about why they like going to church…the reasons I usually get come down to two reasons. (*Katy’s poll is totally anecdotal)
What Church People are actually saying
1. Its a like a family/the relationships, etc.
2. for the kids (although that tends to be a baby boomer reason)
Seldom to I hear (What church people aren’t saying enough of)
1. We are actually helping people
2. The prayer is amazing
3. I feel connected to God
4. Worship is so meaningful
5. We are actively welcoming of all people…..
Pastor Fail? Denominational Fail? Gospel Fail? Church fail? Institutional Fail?
Where is the disconnect… (PS families are great, but to me there is more to it)
Sometimes I can be a tad impatient with my children, especially my “almost” 5 year old. For example last Friday we were late to school because every single thing I asked him to do he said he would and then didn’t. Making me repeat myself over and over again.
Last week I was trying to nap during my children’s nap/quiet time (quiet time for the older boys for 1hr, nap time for the baby and perhaps my 3 year old depending how good a job we did of wearing him out). My mistake was to try to nap upstairs (my window get a nice piece of sunlight to sleep in midday: I’m part plant you know). Every couple of minutes it was “mmmooooo—ooomm–maaaa….how do I spell….” followed by some word that was somehow related to Dr. Suess–which is our current obsession. My problem was I was so tired I couldn’t follow through on my threats so I kept saying “this is the last time” spell it and inevitably he would return….
What amazes me about this all is that my children’s behavior and its significance for me, the fact of whether they are having a good or a bad day is ultimately reflective of the kind of day I’m having.
Jesus tells a parable of the Fig Tree…In it a fig tree that has been growing for 3 years. It grows, its green, it looks healthy, and yet does not produce fruit. The Master declares it should be cut down, but the caretaker (Christ anyone?) says that he will trim it, give it better soil, and to please let it grow another year and see what then happens. The Master agrees….–Luke 13:6-9
…and that’s it…the story ends, not with whether or not the tree behaves better but the two “parents” of the tree, the caretaker and the master, Jesus and God, agreeing to give it better care. Deciding it wasn’t (entirely) the tree’s fault, and that it probably could produce it just needed more time and space to grow, and more nurturing, and trimming of its bad parts….
If I’m having a good day, the hiccups of a 1, 3 and almost 5yr old are minor and workable. If I’m having a bad day every infraction feels like a personal insult.
If I have the wherewithall to take a step back on the bad days then I at least don’t lash out but unfortunately, I am only human. My mom said she used to be really moody/dramatic (Re: my side of the family tends to be) and if one thing went wrong her entire day was ruined. Post-Children, if only a few things went wrong, she knew it had been a “good” day.
So there it is…the promise is that God will follow through on cutting down the bad trees (you know the importance of boundary setting and holding to consequences in parenting), but at the same time, practicing Grace….If my children aren’t bearing fruit that day, maybe I need to look at the care I’m able to give them that day (after all children tend to notice when we are stressed and respond in kind) The focus is not on the consequence but on the gift…let our parenting be the same….not only on my good days, but also on my bad ones
On the other hand on really hard days–where it isn’t about me or the children, but about the world (Newtown and Boston of course spring to mind)–then the misbehavior of small children are put into perspective, and I begin to feel blessed–blessed to be safe, blessed to have children to love, bless to have children who misbehave and are imperfect.