Each month I am involved with a Dinner Church Cohort Conference Call with six other pastors and our leader, Isaac Olivarez. I have to admit that I am often challenged by the topics presented by Isaac. Our last topic was one word; reverence. One definition is, to regard or treat with deep respect.
We know that we have expected behaviors in many settings in life. In schools, the work place, military service, driving, and going to the grocery store. Can you think of more places that require either to learn expected behaviors through experience or to be taught proper behavior?
Did you think of church as a place with expected behaviors, especially in the area of reverence?
The church and her people today are products of the Reformation (1517 – 1648). There’s plenty to read and research about the Reformation, but I want to go back further to the life and times of Jesus.
It’s easy for us to miss the many times Jesus taught his followers around the settings of meals. The miraculous feeding of the large crowds, dinners at Matthew’s house with the sinners, eating at Zacchaeus’s house, the Emmaus road experience where Jesus is known in the way he broke bread and who could leave out the Last Supper. In our minds we might put these into the category of reverent moments with Jesus. But, for a moment, think outside the box and view these times as irreverent times. Remember there were no learned behaviors and there were no tests to pass for following Jesus. Think of meals as dinner table times when Jesus taught theology of the Kingdom of God. “That is the Jesus dinner table theology in a nutshell: gather the saint and the sinner, eat together, talk about Jesus, and expect divine interventions to show up.” (Welcome to Dinner, Church by Verlon Fosner.)
Those who come to Breakfast Church at Davis St. don’t always know the expectations for behavior. There’s no driving test to enter into the fellowship of the church. Expect those who come to 8:30 and 10:55 to find a place of worship, a warm place of hospitality and fellowship with new friends but above all, and most importantly, to meet Jesus in an often irreverent setting. This is where Jesus love shines through each one of us. We do this by offering worship and over the top hospitality with food, a nice setting, clothing, and people who engage with our friends.
Rev. Julie from the conference call left us with this bit of truth. “It’s not our job to judge, it’s our job to love.”