Sunday, June 15, 2014

Adult Spirituality Group notes

Our discussion of Chapter 8 "Myths and Traditions" explored different churches communion rules & structures.  We were curious to learn how the wider community has authentic personal communion experiences:

The author cautioned "that once you decide that there are rules around who takes communion and who doesn't, you can get to the point where taking communion boils down to making sure a soul is freshly laundered and squeaky-clean before its body can take the bread and wine into its mouth. This gets very close to manipulating God.  And once you begin to make rules, there is no end to the rule-making."  (p. 89)

(interim pastor)  "When young and I attended a Lutheran church, I dressed up for God."
(Gudrun Murti)  "To dress up for God is good because we aren't most authentic if only base.  Our ideals are important, not just putting out our laundry for God."
(Day Murti)  "To be truly present in the moment is to not just bring one version of yourself, but all levels."

For next week, please read chapter 9, "A History In Brief" (p. 97+).
- As Nora recalls the history of the sacred meal--and how food and celebration have long been a part of our faith communities--she reminds us that Jesus used simple everyday routines "to bring us to our senses."  In what ways does sharing food with friends and family compare with the sacred meal of communion?
- Jesus washed his disciples' feet possibly as a way of showing them vulnerability.  Are there times we should be as humble and vulnerable before our friends and family?

The next book we plan to read is called Zealot - The Life And Times Of Jesus Of Nazareth.  Please check out the online review at .

Sunday, June 8, 2014

Adult Spirituality Group notes

We discussed chapter 7, entitled "Magic and Thanksgiving": 

MAGIC - "We need concrete things that tie the ordinary to the extraordinary, like the long lines that tether a hot air balloon to the ground, to bring the kingdom of heaven near to us.  The hope is that these rituals will not diminish the holy nor make it mundane but are set aside to keep it close."

THANKSGIVING - "The Communion ritual is a way of putting aside time to give our thanks--and in that putting aside of time, we have the opportunity to see what our lives are like now and what they can become." 

For next week discussion, we'll read "Chapter 8: Myths and Traditions":

- Have you encountered rules and regulations about communion that have kept you from the table?  How would it feel to be denied this gift of community because of some transgression?
- How do you react to the statement, "You are a  guest at God's feast.  You are an honored guest"?  How does the openness of God's table compare to the gift of his grace in our lives?

Sunday, June 1, 2014

Adult Spirituality Group notes

We consumed the chapter "Eating the Body and Blood":
During communion, we should think of Christ as being present, the sacramental bread is feeding the Church body of Christ, and the wine is the blood of Christ giving our congregation energy.  Our church needs to live Christianity and do the work of Christ.  "The larger narrative of the Christian religion has been a story, a metaphor into which I have fitted my life.  I am a character in this book."  (p. 72)

"Consecrating bread and wine for Communion is like a wedding feast:  it calls out of these ordinary elements their essential beauty and their life-giving core." (p. 66) 
 Day - I am curious about the above quote and this chapter as a whole because my formal first name is Deven (pronounced "Dayv-ANE"), short for Devendra the king of all elemental beings in Hindu mythology, similar to Zeus and Thor, with lightning and thunder as my weapon.  I like to directly intuit the subtle relationships in nature's intricate web.

Tom - For me it is richer to think of Jesus doing a miracle to turn water into wine.  "Jesus is said to have turned water into wine....  In the clear water of our lives lies undiscovered wine.  It is our charge, as men and women, as human beings, to commit ourselves to seeking and finding that heady spirit in our sisters, brothers, and ourselves.  (p. 66)
Rose - In our church, we never talk about the meaning of communion.  Some people can relate with a sermon, but for others who've had a tough complex worldly week, consuming the communion sacramental wafer and wine can better bring them into Christ's church body.  We should do a sermon on communion and coffee hour presentation about our book, The Sacred Meal, for the congregation.

Next Sunday 6/8, we'll discuss Chapter 7 "Magic & Thanksgiving" p. 75+.
Whatever you believe about the elements of communion, Nora reminds us that this is a ritual of thanksgiving.  What type of remembrances and thanks do you bring to the table?  Are there problems (baggage) that block you from being truly thankful?

In what ways would you like to see your life, your spiritual growth transform?  How do you think the regular practice of communion could keep you focused on a larger vision of God's grace in your life?