Every day they continued to meet together in the temple courts. They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts,
On the first day of the week we came together to break bread. Paul spoke to the people and, because he intended to leave the next day, kept on talking until midnight.
It would not be a big stretch to say that Jesus was an early day “foodie.” Recall what he did with the water and wine at the wedding reception, with the fishes and loaves that multiplied to feed the crowds that had come to hear him speak, and the story of the feast celebrating the return of the prodigal son. During Jesus earthly ministry, he was often either going to a meal, at a meal, or coming from a meal in the stories Luke shares. At these meals people were coming to know and love Him. Many were challenged by his message. All the while, they were getting to know each other, growing on their faith journey, and building a new faith community of followers.
I recently attended a presentation by Dr. Mike Graves, Professor Emeritus of Preaching & Worship, St. Paul School of Theology. He was speaking about rethinking communion and the dinner church movement. A key focus of the movement is to reach non- and nominally religious people. I found many parallels in what he shared and the impact the Community Life Center will have as a place to gather and break bread at Resurrection West. Early Christian gatherings were meal centered and included a full meal and evening promoting intimacy in faith sharing. There was an atmosphere of festive joy as they ate, listened, learned and discussed their developing faith. Bread was broken first thing as a symbol of sharing together and celebrating their faith in the developing Christian Community.
It is often said that it’s not a Methodist gathering without food. I have many fond memories from my youth attending potluck dinners and soup supper fund raisers at my home church in Hope, Kansas. The Methodist Church basement was a community gathering center where stomachs were filled, relationships formed and faith strengthened.
If you have attended our Fall Festival, you’ve experienced an awesome community outreach event. As part of the annual event, we serve meals to the more than 1,500 people that come for the family fun and fellowship experience of the festival. Lasting memories are being created as families enjoy the festive time together, share food and conversation, and build community in God’s house.
How much more can we do? How many more can we reach?
The Community Life Center envisioned in the Phase III building program for Resurrection West will enhance and enable community outreach, gathering and breaking bread, building Christian Community through every season for every age. In the new multi-purpose space there will be room for ongoing programing, conferences, special events and gatherings that include meals as well. Our church home will also have the capacity to host life events like confirmation dinners, wedding receptions, funeral luncheons and whenever you can imagine breaking bread together.
Planning also includes a warming kitchen that will enable safe food handling and serving as well as clean-up. Volunteers that support daily and evening programs with food will greatly benefit from this. This new facility could even enable offering food concessions for the hundreds of youth attending Upward Sports programs and other activities.
We thank you for the countless ways you provide for us. We thank you for sending your Son Jesus and the stories of His life and message that help us to know and love Him. Guide us as we imagine the many ways the Community Life Center will enhance our ability for outreach, to break bread together and grow Christian Community at Resurrection West. We thank you for the generous gifts you bless us with. Guide us in our decisions as we consider putting these gifts to work in development of Phase III and the Community Life Center.
In Jesus name we pray, Amen.