So, among other things, heads up, Deacons! 🙂
Lots of folks, especially visitors and potential new members to our church, wonder how celebrating Communion–that is, partaking of the elements of the Lord’s Supper–fits in with the theology of progressives or liberals or nones. I don’t know of a single person in the Silverside family who believes in atonement theology. Atonement theology holds to the idea that Jesus had to die, and shed blood in the process, in order to save sinners (that would be all of humanity in these theological systems) from the rage of the god (lower case g intended) of their perceptions who without Jesus’ indescribable suffering could only be happy if all humans since the beginning of time would burn in caverns of fire that never stop tormenting nerve endings never destroyed by the flames.
Well, we Silversiders don’t want to take the fun away from those who thank God every chance they get for creating a means whereby the divine wrath is deflected away from them and onto this amazingly pious and ethical person, Jesus. But that is not is what is going on for us when we share a bite of bread and a sip of juice.
One of my beloved Christian scripture professors in seminary who in retirement would become one of my parishioners in New Orleans, Dr. Frank Stagg, said it this way, with his native Louisiana dialect sounding through a bit: “There didn’t have to be a killin’ before God could love us.” And that is what we celebrate when join together for the Lord’s Supper at Silverside Church. We are reminded of the potency of God’s love to overcome hells on earth, hells in other spheres of existence, and especially the hells in our own minds that rob us of the capacity to rest in the totality of God’s love.
That is the motivation followers of Jesus have when we bind ourselves together in community so we can take yet another collective deep breath and head out to live God’s love into a world fighting, despite great good here and there, against expressions of God’s love nearly every step of the way. (By the way, the intimacy and closeness participants felt at Jesus’ last earthly supper is underscored when we realize how physically close they probably were to each other, reclining at the low-to-the-floor table.)
So, there’s a reason we do what we do at Silverside. And I think it’s of vital importance in these times.