Thursday, October 01, 2009

Remembering

I think one of the things that most greatly pains me about the Christian Church is the brokenness of her various parts. Often, the Church's voice speaks of the brokenness of the world. As well it should - the world needs some help. But the Church herself is broken and it pains me. And it pains many others who've pretty much given up on the Church. In great part, I can't blame them.

But at the same time, it's nothing new, is it? The people of God have quite often been a collective whore, selling themselves out to whatever the whims or ways of the world are at the time (monarchy or syncretism with Ba'al for Israel, tradition for the Pharisees, Christendom for the Catholic Church, politics for the evangelical Church, and so, so many more examples). But our faith and theology tell us that Christ, the bridegroom is faithful all the while. Do I get pissed off at the Church? For sure...but it's in these moments that the words of Christ (via lyricist Derek Webb) challenge me back: "If you love Me, you will love the Church." In part, we love not because of perfection, but because of potential.

More and more I'm understanding that this side of the Great Resurrection, the Church will continue her shameful ways. This is not to say that I will not strive to do what I can to speak prophetically and to love unconditionally. It's also not to say that we shouldn't strive together to be who we were made and created to be...together...as a people.  But I need to temper my emotions and read Jesus' prayer for his people in John 17 over and over and over again.

So when we began our Sunday evening gathering of communion at North Street, we called it "The Remembrance." There is a lot of intentionality behind the name.  It is a gathering around the table of communion and specifically not around the preached word.  The grace of the table abounds in multiple ways (ways that I'm still learning about and discovering).  But one way we receive the grace of God - that is, we understand who God wants us to be together - is that Christ told us to come together at the table "in remembrance of him."

For sure, this means the general notion of what it tell our children it means: "remember that Jesus died for you."  But it's way more than that. The Greek word here is "anamnesis": to recollect, indeed to remember.  But what does that mean?  To re-collect or to re-member is to put back together the things, the thoughts, or the parts of something.  So...at the table of communion, if we are, as Christ asked us to, doing it to re-member him, then each of us, who is a member, coming to the table is making a decision to put the Body of Christ (the Church!) back together.

So it's my hope that this is what happens at the Remembrance - that it's a symbol, a hope, a desire to right now put back together the Body of Christ.

The Work of the People, as they often do, have just put out a wonderful video.  In it, John Goldingay speaks to this notion of remembering.  He talks about how the Hebrew notion of "remembering" isn't just about the past.  To "remember" means to "be mindful of" (and thus, we can actually "remember" the future").  So to "forget" is to choose "not be mindful of."  (This might help for those who can't understand how God can "forget" sin...)

Give it a watch, and wrestle with me about this "re-membrance" of Christ's Body, the Church.


2 comments:

  1. Thanks for posting this. The church we are attending is going through a "re-membering" process. I don't THINK the pastor has seen this. I'll share your post with him.

    Jeff

    ReplyDelete
  2. I enjoyed the mental nudge I received from this post. It challenged me to contemplate the idea that I can be deliberately mindful of the past, present and future.

    Of course, the play on words to "re-member the body of Christ" is an interesting idea too. I like to juggle words around even if the root of remember does not imply a "member" of the body of Christ, it's a useful analogy and will stick in my memory.

    Keep the posts comin'!

    ReplyDelete