We hosted our 2nd Thanksgiving Community Feast on November 26th at the Jacob's Well Community Resource Center. Under General Shirley Reed (Aka Grandma) and the CRC directors Jim and Linda Carney as well as a bunch of volunteers; the event turned out to be a huge success. You can view picture of the dinner: Here.
Our goal as a church is to develop a regular shared meal schedule in the CRC. With the growing economic challenges, we are seeing an opportunity to recapture the simplicity of biblical community...in particular, sharing resources, in this case...eating together. Not feeding the homeless per say, but eating together. Choosing to create a table that many different people from any background can sit and share with one another in a meal, conversation, life, joys and pains. Setting a table not out of charity but out of community. We are working at caring for one another in this church and neighborhood. Finding practical ways to nurture relationships within and without the church community. Choosing to maintain the dignity of anyone who needs help be it economic, physical, relational, emotional or spiritual.
The joy of the Thanksgiving Feast for me as a pastor, was seeing a family eating together with strangers at the table...and my prayer is that in time, those strangers will become friends...and then brothers or sisters. But even if that doesn't take place...the church should be living this way, and the times we are in are pushing us towards a more Christian community.
Below is a quote that I think goes for the jugular but is needed to move us towards the reality of shared life vs just ministering to people in a clinical way:
"The vision of Jesus is not spread through organizational structures, but through touch, breath, shared life. It is spread through people who have discovered love… I believe that the great tragedy of the church is not that rich Christians do not care about the poor, but that they do not know the poor. Yet if we are called to live the new community for which Christ was crucified, we cannot remain strangers to one another. Jesus demands that we live in a very different way Charity… functions to keep the wealthy sane. Tithes, tax-exempt donations, and short-term mission trips, while they accomplish some good, also function as outlets that allow wealthy Christians to pay off their consciences while avoiding a revolution of lifestyle. People do their time in a social program or distribute food and clothes through organizations which take their excess. That way, they never actually have to face the poor and give their clothes, their food, their beds. Wealthy Christians never actually have to be with poor people, with Christ in disguise. Instead of living out this alternative vision, the church has been content to be a broker between the rich and the poor. Both those trapped in poverty and those trapped in riches view the church as a distribution center, a place where the poor come to get stuff and the rich come to dump stuff. No radical new community is formed… In that model, the power structure has not budged. The power has merely changed hands". -Shane Claiborne