Wednesday, September 5, 2012

More Than A Symbol



Interesting - a strong case for the regular, weekly celebration of communion, made by a Pentecostal preacher! Check out this great article by Jonathan Martin, pastor of Renovatus Church in North Carolina.
Yesterday, I announced formally that we would be celebrating the Lord’s Supper weekly at Renovatus.
I have been moving in that direction for many years, and have even ironically claimed it to be the best way to orient a weekly worship gathering. Why precisely I have been so reluctant to pull the trigger, I do not know. We just wrapped up our Love Feast series, which was intended to be about Christian community. And indeed it was, but to my surprise it became as much about communion—or to be more precise, the way that communion must be the basis of our community. We came to the Lord’s table weekly during the series. And as God continued to confirm so much of what we had been sensing for years-that much of our destiny and calling as a church is wrapped up in this path of sacramental Pentecostalism, the time was right to make it our ongoing practice......
....There are many reasons I am compelled to lead our congregation to the table weekly: from Scripture, from early church tradition, from following my own Pentecostal tradition back up the line to Wesley, from the simple prompting of the Holy Spirit. But today I want to focus only on one. When Chris and I tag-teamed the message a few weeks ago, he shared something of his own journey to discover the power of the Lord’s Supper as a Pentecostal. He said it all started with a simple remark from a mentor who said that grounding the worship service in the sacrament is the only way to keep it from being too oriented around the personality of the preacher. That stung me. I do feel powerfully compelled and even used by God to preach, and there are many ways/forms that people respond to the preached word in our church. Perhaps this still seemed to be enough before now. Perhaps some of it is the blind optimism of youth, thinking that while I’m far from perfect, the work of the Spirit in the preaching is enough to sustain the congregation.
I have continued to ponder those words. Lord knows I have a big personality, so big it scares me. Thus I have no desire for anybody to ground their faith or their life in me. But when the preaching gets more press (and more space) in the worship experience, perhaps this is still what we invite people to do. I know for my part, I am feeling my fragility these days. I have as great a confidence in God than ever to change lives, but a much a more sober estimation about the value of my own life to the church....
Love his phrase "sacramental Pentecostalism"!

What do you think?