I have been going back and listening to old episodes of the Rob Cast. I recently listened to Episode 27 with Carlton Pearson (included below). Rev. Pearson has a story very similar to Rob Bell’s. He was a prominent member of the Pentecostal community until he began to see another reality.
He went from pastoring a church with thousands of people to having so few parishioners that they lost their church building. But he continued to do as the Holy Spirit called him to do despite the tremendous personal cost.
About an hour and fifteen minutes into the conversation, Rev. Pearson talks about sharing communion with Trinity Episcopal Church. When his church lost their building, Trinity invited them to use their building after their last service.
They had a joint service and a joint communion, and it moved Rev. Pearson to tears. He was moved by the sight of rich white people sharing the same cup with poor black people, everyone equal and together at the communion table.
It is the thing that brings me back over and over again to the Episcopal Church. Our current presiding bishop shares a similar story of transformation at the communion table.
We are far from a perfect church, and we know it. We are sinners. We fight. We drive each other crazy. But every Sunday, we share the same cup together. No matter what. Our unity in Christ reigns supreme over our politics, our theology, and our personalities. It is the essence of who we are.
For me, it is a metaphor of how we can change the world. If we can at regular intervals let go of all of our arguments and our differences, we can come together at a common table to share the things that connect us, realizing that our commonalities will always exceed the things that separate us.
We share a planet. We share DNA. We share hope, joy, sadness, grief. We are brothers and sisters, always moving forward. Would it be more wonderful to do it together, lovingly and in service to one another?
What would the world look like if we made a point of sharing a meal together?