Friday, May 11, 2007

Communion is very difficult.

Our synods are being stretched in our understanding of community and Communion. I bought a little book from Upper Room publishers entitled "Conflict and Communion: Reconciliation and Restorative justice at Christ's Table". Contributors to this book include Peter Storey, Jan Love and William Everett. I have found this book to be a source of hope and comfort while there have been tense moments in this day, especially when news arrived that some of our friends and colleagues from the Cape of Good Hope District were suspended for their stance on Methodist Discipline.

I would like to share some quotes from this book that have spoken to me in preparation for the debates that we will share, especially those that are highly emotive and that may become a source of alienation.

Brueggemann "It is around that table that we have had our greatest conflicts because we know intuitively that in eating and drinking we are choosing our brand of shalom and legitimating an ordering of our world".

In the chapter "The Last Supper: Naming the conflicts and giving Bread and Wine", Mark 14:17-25 is quoted. "After they have taken their places and are eating, what are the first words that we hear Jesus say? He says 'Truly I tell you, one of you will betray me...' Isn't this startling? What a way to start a dinner party! The first words of Jesus, at this final dinner with his disciples, name the conflict that is the elephant in the room." "What Jesus does next is remarkable, radical, and transforming in the context of his day and ours. After naming the conflict, he turns and offers everyone - Judas, Peter, everyone - bread and wine."

"I have a growing conviction that on some issues we are not, at least in the near term, going to find common ground, but we can find at the Table higher ground, transcendent ground to which we are invited and where we can stand together."

I hope these words bless you.

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