One of my favourite verses in Eugene Peterson’s The Message is John 1:14.
The Word became flesh and blood, and moved into the neighbourhood.
Our upstart church is just about to embark on an experiment. We’re test-running a venue for our group. The venue is a restaurant/pub. We have our own room for our gathering, but we are very much in view and within earshot of “the neighbourhood.” This is our attempt at trying to wrestle with the idea of being an incarnational church — of trying to live out John 1:14. I’ll keep you posted on this trial run.
In the meantime, here’s a story from today — a first of many firsts for me, I’d imagine.
I just finished explaining The Lord’s Supper/Communion/The Table/Eucharist to the owner of the restaurant/pub. You see, we’re buying and consuming their food and beverages while we meet in their establishment. Because of this arrangement I didn’t want to assume that I could show up with a small loaf of bread and glass of grape-juice. And so I asked the owner if she could provide these things for us, which then led to a discussion about the meaning of “these things.” It was a first for me — having to try and explain these things to a restaurant owner — and it was certainly a first for her. She has no idea what she’s gotten herself into. Maybe we don’t either.
But what really struck me is this: during my conversation all I could think of was John 1:14. Here we are — the church, the presence of Jesus — moving into the neighbourhood and talking about things where these kinds of conversations don’t normally take place. We certainly don’t have it all figured out and we have much to learn, but I’m excited about this. I’m excited about figuring out how to move into the neighbourhood and ride the coattails of the ever-present and active Spirit of Redemption. And I’m also excited about many more firsts.