Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Sunday, June 24, 2007


Sermon Texts:
Galatians 3: 23-29
John 17: 20-23

When I was 14 years old, a beautiful and mysterious song by U2 came out on the radio that remains to this day one of my favorite songs. I found it echoing in my mind as I read over Paul’s letter to the Galatians this week. Though the song “One” is open to interpretation, and Paul’s letter is written quite directly, I hear them saying very similar things: namely, “We’re one, but we’re not the same, we’ve got to carry each other.”
The story surrounding the creation of this song is that while recording the album “Achtung Baby” in Berlin, two of the band members, Bono and the Edge, wanted to start exploring a new musical direction, namely electronica, while Adam Clayton and Larry Mullen Jr. favored the straight forward rock music that they were known for performing so powerfully throughout the 80’s. The band had been together for more than 10 years, and their relationship was beginning to strain. The band attributes their focus on putting together this song with re-unifying them as a band. As this song came into being, they put aside their differences and understood that sometimes creating something beautiful takes some tension.
This tension was also felt in the beginnings of Christianity. Paul and some of his followers were advocating a certain way of interpreting Christ’s impact on the world, and James and Peter and some others in Jerusalem were insisting on another way. Paul’s letter to the Galatians is rife with evidence of this tension, but somehow the Spirit of God brought something beautiful out of the tension of those early years.
Let’s listen together:

In the Gospel lesson today, we heard Jesus’ prayer that his disciples might be “one” as he and God the Father are “one.” Paul would speak of us becoming one with one another by “putting on Christ” in baptism. Christ’s desire for his disciples to become one with each other would occur through the radical act of faith that it took for him to walk into the hands of those who would crucify him. Our church came to see that sacrifice as an “atonement.”
We usually think of the atonement being the forgiveness of our sins that was achieved through Christ’s death on the cross. The word “atone” might create images in your mind of a sacrifice, blood, or tears. But, today I want you to have in your mind the actual word atone. If we break it down into two words we get “at one.”
Paul speaks quite beautifully in this chapter about the cross of Jesus carrying out our salvation, bringing us into a rectified relationship with God. Paul speaks about being crucified WITH Christ. He sees that trust in Christ’s act of faith gives all of us who hold this trust the new relationship of Christ’s own relationship with God. Verse 26 says quite plainly, “IN Christ Jesus, you are all children of God through faith.” Paul’s view of atonement in the letter to the Galatians is not “forgiveness.” Indeed, the word forgiveness is never used in the letter. Instead, atonement is about “at one ment.” It is about taking on a new identity as one who is unified with Christ’s identity. This is the gift of our Lord.
Haven’t you ever put on a really nice suit and felt 10 times more confident? When I was a kid, I really wanted a leather bomber jacket. I never got one, but I did get a green suade leather jacket. It didn’t have a cool bomber collar, but I felt cool like Tom Cruise in Top Gun.
The language of being “clothed with” some attribute is pervasive in the OT. To take a single example, the psalmist prays that Israel's priests might be “clothed with righteousness,” and later in the same psalm God declares, “Its priests I will clothe with salvation” (Ps 132:9, 16 NRSV).
To be “clothed” with some quality or attribute is to take on the characteristics of that in which one is clothed. None of the many OT examples refer to being “clothed in” a person. Paul's language of “putting on Christ” is another figurative way of describing the mysterious personal union with Christ to which he referred in last week’s scripture. In such a union, those who are “in Christ” share in his divine sonship and take on his character. Clothed in Christ, I am personally a new creation. As a community, we are a new creation.
The oneness of God can be rightly reflected only in a community unified by the fulfillment of God's promise in Christ. (NT Wright)
If we come here and pay lip service to the idea that we are one in Christ Jesus, and then we turn around and live in a way that preaches division, racism, and barriers, then we might as well hang a sign outside the door of the church that says, “we ask you to enter, but then we make you crawl.”
It isn’t just blatant actions of division and barriers that preach this to the world either. No, like any good speaker, we can lay subtle cues and signs that point to something larger and bolder quite clearly. We preach division and barriers sometimes even unconsciously. Our confession that we prayed today states, “Lord, we confess that by silence and ill-considered word we have built up walls of predjudice.” So—we must purge ourselves of those poisons. We must loose ourselves from those shackles, because we have been freed and transformed by Christ! “One Love, One Blood, One Life, You know you got to do what you should. One life, with each other—sisters, brothers.”
Ask God for forgiveness! Ask God to cleanse you outside and inside of the walls of division and barriers that we may unconsciously guard because we might really and actually believe that we are worth more to God than another child of God. God, work on us as individuals and as collectives. Bring us to a greater understanding of the oneness of your people. Help us live the truth that in you there is no East or West, no North or South, in you there is no black or white or brown or red. In you there is no 1st world or 3rd world, no male or female or anything in between, no straight or gay, no American or Iraqi.
If we live this truth, if we internalize the one-ness that exists in the community if the community dwells in the authentic presence of Christ, then we’re not “playing Jesus, to the lepers in our head.” We are boldly being Christ for the world! If we magnify our oneness in Christ, then it gives us reason to sing with authenticity the message of the Gospel: “Love is a Temple, Love is the higher law!”

Thursday, June 21, 2007

Religion and Ethics Newsweekly

Here's how I keep up with faith life meeting current events. This week's program was good, with stories on the church sanctuary movement (to house illegal immigrants) and a story on street children in Brazil and a evangelical aid orgainization that helps them. I recommend you tune in to Religion and Ethics Newsweekly on Sunday afternoons to PBS. You can also follow the link the website, where you can also watch the videos.

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Are you hungry for Indian Tacos?

We hope you are by Saturday! We'll be hosting a community wide Indian Taco Dinner to raise money for our July Mission trip. Be there! $5 donation per plate, kids half portion for $3. 5-7 pm. After dinner we'll have some good Oklahoma country fried entertainment with a game of "cow pattie bingo" you pay $5 for one of the few remaining squares, and if the heifer makes a pattie in your square, you win $100! Now that's fun! Don't worry, several of our professional livestock judges will be on hand to settle any disputes as to who's square is the fortunate one!

Update on Incredible Pizza

On Sunday, June 24, the youth (including our new 6th graders!) will be travelling to Tulsa to spend some time at Incredible Pizza with Okmulgee First UMC! We'll gather in Morris First UMC parking lot and leave at 2:30. You need to bring $15, and that will cover your dinner buffet and a $10 games card. With that, you can mini-golf, bowl, ride go-carts, play arcade games, or whatever else they have to offer. If you want to bring more than that--it's up to you! We'll be getting a group rate with Okmulgee First UMC, but we need a rough estimate of how many to expect so we can prepare for travel and let the folks know at Incredible Pizza. Please leave a comment if you plan to go or are available to drive. Or, if you can't figure that out, just call the church and leave a message!

Sunday, June 17, 2007

Table Manners

Sermon Texts: Luke 7:36-8:3
Galatians 2: 11-21

Lately, Lara and I have been trying to develop a sense of table manners with Wesley. He has moved from sitting in a high chair to sitting on one of our barstools pulled up to the table during dinner time. We haven’t quite gotten to the “no elbows on the table,” and “no chewing with your mouth open” rules. Instead we are focusing more on “no chewing up your cheese and then spitting it out on the floor,” and “no standing in your chair.” I’m sure we have a long road ahead of us!
We human beings spend a lot of time trying to cultivate a sense of appropriateness and taboos at the table. Perhaps we have an innate sense of the sacredness of this time of fellowship around a meal.
Jesus’ table customs would have looked quite strange to us. In his culture, the tables were very low to the ground so that one would usually eat while reclining with your feet facing away from the table. Perhaps that changes the picture in your mind of the gospel story we heard today.
Also in Jesus’ time, and in the era and culture of the early church, it was customary for Jews to segregate themselves during meal times. It was not written in Torah, but it was a cultural norm that was commented on by Jewish and Roman historians of the time. Jews segregated themselves from Gentiles while eating, and they did so largely because they were afraid of losing their dietary identity that had been set down in the Law. This is something that Paul came to detest, and writes quite passionately about in today’s passage from Galatians.
I am reminded of the common high school lay out of table hierarchy that existed when I was in school: athletic people over here, preps over here, “goat-ropers” over here, skaters over there, band nerds over here, etc. etc.
In this letter, Paul is taking his fellow missionaries to task for failing to abide by the truth of the Gospel. He has witnessed Peter fellowshipping with the Gentiles at a common table during mealtimes, but when James and his “party” come to town, Peter and even Barnabas “draw back” from the Gentiles and refuse to fraternize with them because James’s bunch is very vocal about Gentiles needing to conform to Jewish cultural mores to follow Christ. Mind you, the Gentile “God-fearers” in Antioch had already most likely adopted Jewish customs and dietary prohibitions (because Paul doesn’t mention that as being a problem)—Peter and the other apostles were simply drawing back from the Gentiles because he was a Jew and they were Gentiles.
Paul describes this mass withdrawal from the one table as “hypocrisy” (hypokrisis, v. 13). The Greek word does not have quite the same connotation of malicious duplicity that is present in the English. In Greek, the (hypokrites) is an actor, someone who wears a mask and plays a role. Thus hypokrisis is the act of playing out a scripted role. Paul's point is that Peter and the other Jewish Christians at Antioch are caught up in playing a part that does not represent their own considered convictions; they are caving in to external pressure, carrying out someone else's agenda. This is another way of expressing the charge of people pleasing.
Paul was standing up for a pretty unpopular side of the argument among his fellow missionaries. But he insisted that the truth of the Gospel was not fused with Jewish cultural identity. Love and fellowship outweighed any commitments to cultural preservation. Imagine how the Love of Christ was communicated to the Gentiles when the Jewish missionaries who brought the message of this new life in Christ abandoned the cultural practices the Gentiles expected of them to instead have direct and full fellowship with them!
When we get mission and evangelism right, this is what happens. For a period in our history, mission work meant cultural conversion. Most likely because we practiced and still practice a cultural religion, we for some time thought that showing Christ to Africa meant making the Africans more like Americans. We thought Christianity was the wrapping paper on the true gift of American styles of dress and taste, American taboos and language.
What Paul was doing back in the first generation of Christianity was the radical freeing of the Good News from the cultural identity that he had known and loved his entire life. What he wanted the Jerusalem church to know was that when we give the Gospel to people of other cultures, we should be prepared to take some of them into us. We should celebrate the skate-park ministries, the online porn-site ministries, the African churches that end up looking and feeling so different from our own expression of faith. Those who sit at the table with people who hold very different values and customs than our own should be celebrated instead of suspected.
What are the examples of Christians’ weariness to have table fellowship with Gentiles are there today? Our unease to go into the bars and the clubs and look to build authentic felloship? Our denominational predjudices? Our inhospitality with those who some in our community feel are “abnormal?” If we fail to show the love of Christ to those on the margins because we are afraid of what others in our church may associate us with, then we are containing the love of Christ. We are keeping a lid on it.
Christ’s love is free grace, and if we attempt to yoke it to all kinds of rules and regulations, then we are standing in the corner with Simon the Pharisee scoffing at how Jesus is tenderly responding to the harlot. Or we are drawing back from the table of fellowship with Peter and Barnabas and we should hear Paul’s anger being directed our way.
Crucified with Christ, it is Christ who lives in me! Who am I to limit the love of Christ, through my own unwillingness to love and have fellowship with all of God’s people? Paul is describing the experience of having his former life-world terminated and entering a new sphere of reality where he is no longer in charge. This is not merely a matter of having his sins forgiven (indeed, Paul never mentions “forgiveness” in this letter); instead, it is a matter of being transformed for service. Paul finds himself—to his own great surprise—the instrument of Christ's reconciling love, the agent of Christ's mission to a world of Gentiles whom he previously regarded as unclean “dogs.”
“It is no longer I who live but Christ who lives in me.” Having died to his old identity, and to the Law that shaped that identity, Paul lives in the mysterious power of the risen Christ. This means that all his values and practices are reshaped in accordance with the identity of the crucified one. The character of that identity is sketched by the latter part of v. 20: “The life I now live in the flesh I live by faith—that is, by the faith of the Son of God who loved me and gave himself for me.” The hallmarks of this new identity are love and self-giving, rather than circumcision and Law observance. All of this has obvious implications for the debate over table fellowship with Gentiles.
These hallmarks of Christ are also on display in the Gospel passage from Luke. Jesus commends the woman for her faith and display of honor and love. Jesus is able to look deeper into her identity than the judgmental Simon, who scoffs that Jesus must not be who he had at first thought.
Simon, forming his spiritual worldview out of a legalistic attention to issues of “outsider” and “insider,” looks down on the woman because of her reputation and the damage it brings to his own stature. Jesus, forming his spiritual worldview out of a prophetic reversal of “outsider” and “insider” sees the act of devotion as an expression of the woman’s gratitude and faith. He holds her up as fulfilling a higher law: hospitality. It is in the fellowship that Christ becomes alive and real, not in the observance of all the rules and laws. Christ forgives, he loves sinners.
Wherever we see Christians trying to rebuild walls of separation in the church, walls that separate people along ethnic or cultural lines, we can be sure that the integrity of the gospel is being violated, and, like Paul, we should feel compelled to speak out against such practices. Paul goes on to say in the next chapter of Galatians that we should refrain from making distinctions among ourselves and segregating ourselves from one another because “There is neither Jew nor Greek, slave nor free, male nor female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.” If we withdraw from fellowship with someone or some particular group of people because of our cultural norms, we are missing this opportunity to know Christ so much more deeply.
One of the most remarkable stories of this kind from recent history emerged from the bloody conflict in Rwanda, where in 1994 members of the Hutu tribe carried out mass murders of the Tutsi tribe. At the town of Ruhanga, fifteen kilometers outside Kigali, a group of 13,500 Christians had gathered for refuge. They were of various denominations: Anglicans, Roman Catholics, Pentecostals, Baptists, and others. According to the account of a witness to the scene, “When the militias came, they ordered the Hutus and Tutsis to separate themselves by tribe.
The people refused and declared that they were all one in Christ, and for that they were all killed,” gunned down en masse and dumped into mass graves. It is a disturbing story, but it is also a compelling witness to the power of the gospel to overcome ethnic division. Paul would have regarded these Rwandan martyrs as faithful witnesses to the truth of the gospel. Having been “crucified with Christ,” they preferred to die rather than to deny the grace of God that had made them one in Christ.A very poignant truth that I have heard over the years and have just been waiting and waiting to express to you is that when a new person joins this family of faith with vows of membership, we become a brand new body of Christ. Instead of viewing that new person as being “grafted on” to the existing body, we must instead see how that new person’s gifts and graces change the whole body into something new. This is a struggle that was being faced by the early church. The Jerusalem church, led by James the brother of Jesus, saw the Gentiles as “grafted on.” Paul saw the inclusion of the Gentiles as being reformative. God was doing a new thing, and this meant something to his own relationship with God. With joy, Paul celebrated a new understanding of a relationship that was even deeper than he had at first imagined.

Monday, June 11, 2007

Hymn Sing Testimony

yesterday, our worship service was centered on praising God through song. Nathan commented on the hymnal's structure, We had hymn requests, we sung our confession, affirmation, and other prayers came from the Psalms. We also had a testimony on Colossians 3: 16 by Lara. Here's what she said:

“How are you?” How many times in a day do we hear or speak these words? You ask others this question, or you ask the question of other people when you’re at the grocery store, the bank, the doctor’s office, the post office, the gas station.

Let’s say you go up to pay for your bag of chips and a coke, and the cashier asks, “How are you?” Does he really care? Maybe not. Does he even hear you answer, “Fine, how are you?” Often, the question just seems like words…social niceties that don’t really mean much. In fact, if you mention that you’re not doing so well, it’s a bit of a faux-pas. Just smile, say “fine,” and everyone can move about their day.

What if you meet up with a really good friend, someone you know cares about you, and she asks the same question, “How are you?” Do you think she cares? Does she hear your answer? Is she irritated when you say you’ve had better days? They are the same three words, so what’s the difference between the situations? You can tell from the tone of voice. Flat or caring? You can tell from the eye contact or the lack thereof. You can tell from the facial expression. Nonplussed or concerned? You can tell the difference.

We have some wonderful spoken traditions in our faith: the Lord’s Prayer, the creeds, the Communion liturgy, and many others. Sometimes though, our minds are elsewhere. Like the cashier, asking “how are you?” because “that’s what you do”, we just say the words we have memorized, we just go through the motions. When we do that, we’re just engaging in a custom, but without meaning. As with these spoken traditions and liturgies, it is easy to forget the rich meaning of the lyrics of hymns. Perhaps you know the words of the hymn so well that you just go through the motions. Or perhaps it’s a new hymn to you, so you’re concerned more about the tune than the words. Our task is to let the words of these hymns “dwell in you richly.” Soak in the words, reflect on them, find in them their meaning for you. Be mind-full, instead of mind-less about the lyrics. Let the words “dwell in you richly,” as Paul admonishes the Colossians.

Ever been to a gathering, like a Sunday school class, a Thanksgiving meal, or other situation, where someone says, “Who would like to offer a prayer?” There’s often an awkward silence because no one wants to say they wouldn’t like to offer the prayer, but no one is really volunteering either. I suspect lots of people are thinking something like, “I don’t know how to pray…I’ll sound stupid…I’ll stumble over my words.” So, it seems like the same people often end up doing the prayer, the people who seem to know just the right words to say, and the prayer seems to flow effortlessly from their lips. I know God rejoices in their prayers, but there is another kind of prayer, too. Often, at the end of Children’s Church, little Jackson sitting up here in front of the altar, offers a prayer. She offers not the prayer of a well-spoken adult, with all the “right” words, but a prayer from her heart, no trace of self-consciousness at all. It’s just Jackson and God, communing together, and it is beautiful.

Maybe it’s a similar situation with hymns, which are another form of prayer, set to music. There are certain people who are known to have a good voice, who volunteer to be the song leaders and the soloists. And the rest of us, myself included, are hesitant to join in a hymn, thinking, “I don’t have a good voice…I’ll sound like an idiot.” Try to let go of your self-consciousness. Let your voice rise along with the other members of the congregation in song. Let God hear your voice join in the collective musical prayer, let God hear you rejoice. Don’t be shy, don’t worry if you sing a little off key. Don’t worry if the person next to you is a “good singer,” and you’re not. Just let it be you and God, communing together, and it will be beautiful. Sing…sing like you mean it!!

Tuesday, June 05, 2007

June 24 Youth outing to Incredible Pizza

On June 24, at 2:30 pm, we'll leave for Tulsa for a day at Incredible Pizza with the youth from Okmulgee First UMC. You'll need 15 bucks for dinner and admission. We're celebrating the presence of our new upcoming 6th graders, so they are more than welcome to come. If you're interested in being a driver/sponsor, please let Nathan know soon so we can get you a form to complete. We'll be back around 8pm

Sunday, June 03, 2007

Doctrine and our Theological Task 6 week summer study starts this Thursday

The pastor has been asked several times at this church and others "What do we believe about...?" (Fill in the blank, there). If you have ever found yourself wondering this same question, this may be the study for you! Instead of approaching this study as a "we believe this, we believe that" type of thing, though, this will be an invitation for you to come and claim the doctrines' meanings in your own life.
Child care is provided, and we meet from 6:30 to around 7:45. Hope to see you there. If you want to order a Book of Discipline, the latest is the 2004 edition, however not much has changed in this section of the BOD, so any will probably do.
Scriptures: Psalm 8
Scriptures: Psalm 8, John 16: 12-15

As Sara Webb Phillips says on the back of your bulletin, this is an unusual Sunday in the life of the church because our Christian calendar celebration focuses on a doctrine of the church rather than an event in Scripture. I thought this would usher in a good opportunity for our church to explore the traditional doctrines of the church together this summer at a Thursday evening study—and I would invite you to participate in that.
In the Psalm today, we heard the poet’s amazement that the same God who created the stars and the mountains is also “mindful” of humans. Many of us have probably had this experience before, standing on the rim of the Grand Canyon, in the shadow of a large mountain, gazing up at the expanse of space,—there is a sense of smallness that we sometimes feel, a sense of insignificance. Yet, the Psalmist expresses the joy of one who is known intimately, ultimately, by God.
How can we have a relationship with one who created the heavens and the earth and who is mindful of everything in the universe? It seems too bold to ask for the attention of such a God, yet we believe in a God who takes the most pleasure in having a relationship with us. Perhaps this is because at the very heart of God is a relationship between the three-in-one. God is at the most basic a mystery of 3. God is not the creator of Jesus and the Holy Spirit, God is most basically a relationship between Father, Son, and Spirit. God is most fundamentally a dynamic outpouring of creativity, redemption, and sanctification.
Sara Phillips says, “The doctrine of the Trinity is how the early Chritians named their central conviction that the way God forms us, relates to us, saves us, and moves in us is not different from the way God is in God’s very being.” There was a heresy in the 3rd century church called Saballianism which basically stated that there are no personal relationships between the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. The only distinguishing relationships were between God and man.
Saballianism, or Modalism, said that the Trinity was not three Persons in one God, but three functional relationships with man. The Father is the mode that created man; the Son is the mode that redeemed man; the Holy Spirit is the mode that sanctified man. The reason this offended the orthodox church was because it turned a real, functioning relationship at the heart of the Godhead into a theological construction that depended on humankind’s presence and relationship with God.
This relationship at the core of God is described in the classical doctrines of the Trinity as “one being, who exists simulaneously and eternally, as a ‘mutual indwelling’ of three persons.” Isn’t that a beautiful term? “Mutual Indwelling:” in my mind I see a beautiful endless spiral.
John of Damascus, in the 8th century, used the Greek term περιχώρησις (perichoresis, literally: circuition, going around, or more precisely for John of Damascus' meaning envelopment) to signify this, in his explanation of the text, "I am in my Father, and my Father is in me."
In Eastern Christianity, perichoresis is associated with unification with the Godhead upon sanctification. Redeemed humanity is drawn into the circulation of divine love and thus participates in the coinherence of the Divine Persons, referring to texts such as John 17:20-23.26: "I pray not only for them, but also for those who will believe in me through their word, so that they may all be one, as you, Father, are in me and I in you, that they also may be in us, that the world may believe that you sent me. And I have given them the glory you gave me, so that they may be one, as we are one, I in them and you in me, that they may be brought to perfection as one, that the world may know that you sent me, and that you loved them even as you loved me... that the love with which you loved me may be in them and I in them."
Interestingly enough, the if you replace the “omega” with its long O sound in the word “perichoresis,” with an omicron, a short “o” sound, you have the Greek word for “dance.” Isn’t that beautiful? God’s very being is not very far removed from the idea of an endless, mutual dance, and God is inviting us to be a part of the dance.
As Paul locates the Spirit’s power in “fellowship” in 2nd Corinthians 13:13, we are given the power to participate in the enveloping dance of the Trinity by the power of the Holy Spirit. Contrary to the popular way of speaking about entering this dance, we don’t “get the Spirit.” Because the actions of the Trinity are completely free and completely grace-full, it would be more apporpriate to say that the Spirit “gets us!”
That is why we call this sacred meal that we partake in “communion.” God communicates an inward and spiritual truth to us in an outward and physical sign. In the elements of communion—in this simple bread and juice, God presents Himself to us fully and mysteriously. This is a gift of grace, not merit. This is why we do not put a fence around the elements—this is why we open the table to everyone. Gifts of grace are freely offered. It is as if the three in one Godhead offers us two hands to join in the dance of mutual indwelling. If we take this bread and juice and fail to let it work in us, it is like we are stepping all over the toes of the persons of the Trinity.
To keep in time with the dance, to know which steps to take, we need only look to Christ to guide us. Jesus Christ is the incarnation of this mysterious God, and we can see how to live and love and be in fellowship with one another by watching how our savior behaved in the world. Perhaps this is what Paul meant when he wrote, “let the same mind be in you that was in Christ Jesus (Phil 2:5). As Mark Ralls, writes in a recent issue of Christian Century, “the peculiar thing about Jesus’ mind was that it was always directed toward others.
Jesus was divine mindfulness incarnate. He noticed those who were forgotten. He cherished those who were despised. In the midst of a crowd pulsing all around him, Jesus noticed the touch of a despairing woman who merely grrazed the “hem of his garment” On the cross, Jesus noticed the penitent thief beside him making room in his heart for God. In lesser ways, we are called to be mindful of one another. This is our choice to make again and again. This is how we keep rhythm with the Holy Trinity who dances along with us.
So, we come to the table in order to sustain this dance. We come to the table so that we may internalize God’s mindfulness of us. We come to this table for all of those who cannot or will not, and in turning our attention toward them, we reflect God’s mindfulness into the world. By participating in this sacred communion with God, we enter the fellowship of God’s presence and are in turn propelled to make fellowship with our neighbors.
As Jurgen Moltmann, the premier theologian of our time, wrote “God is experienced not merely individually, in the encounter of the individual, solitary soul with itself. He is exerienced socially too, in the encounter with others….In experiencing the affection of others we experience God. In being loved we sense the nearness of God, in hate we feel God’s remoteness. In love we are seized by the creative energies of the divine Spirit, in hate we are consumed by the poisons of death….From one another, with one another, and in one another human beings discover that mirror of the Godhead which is called imago Dei—the image of God in whom we are created, and which is in actual truth imago Trinitatis.
So, let us come to the table, let us feast together in a reflection of this wonderful God who loves without distraction. Let us eat this bread and drink this cup and thereby stay in rhythm with the Three in One.