Saturday, November 28, 2009

Theology of Space

a Biblical thought...
May the Lord make your love increase and overflow for each other and for everyone else, just as ours does for you. May he strengthen your hearts so that you will be blameless and holy in the presence of our God and Father when our Lord Jesus comes with all his holy ones. (1 Thess. 3:12-13)

a Book thought...
Our experience cannot be the measure by which we understand Scripture. Scripture must be the standard by which we evaluate our experience. (p50)
a Dave thought...
We must think beyond the seating capacity of our buildings and start considering how our spaces are forming, reinforcing, and even transforming the values of those who enter them. Space, like language, is a medium of communication, and we serve a God who cares greatly about communicating with his world.
We too must allow for flexibility while holding strongly to the centrality of Christ in our gatherings, no matter what kind of space we are using. Are we forming our communities and engaging in fellowship around Word and Sacrament, or is something else taking their rightful place? Consider that in many churches the coffee bar has displaced the Lord's Table as the place where real community happens. Due in part to the neutralizing of sacred space that has been popular since the 1980s, churches began removing or deemphasizing the Lord's Table and introducing coffee bars. Without doubt the desire has been to build community by offering people a culturally familiar setting to engage one another. But we must ask: What formative message does a coffee bar convey?
A coffee bar mostly carries the values of our culture. We've come to expect coffee bars to offer a number of choices to meet our desires (decaf, tea, hot chocolate), and the setting is one of leisure and comfort. We usually gather in affinity groups. We sip the beverages not because we're thirsty but because we're conditioned to want them.
By contrast, what does the Lord's Table convey? It is a symbol of sacrificial love that breaks down cultural divisions and barriers of affinity. It reminds us that life is about being chosen by the Lord for interpersonal communion rather than choosing to consume stuff, and it reminds us we are called to take up our cross rather than seek personal comfort.

Just a thought.


graham said...

What makes a space sacred?

In some places there is no Lord's table. Looking back in history we find that some groups controlled access to the table so that only those who were in the kingdom (according to their criteria) were allowed to sit at the table. So much for that sacred space!

In our journeys over the last months it has been around the coffee bar where we it has been easiest to share in the lives and experiences of others.

The Lord's table was as much in the house of Matthew/Levi as it was in the Upper Room. It was there that Jesus revealed his acceptance and forgiveness to Matthew. Where and how do we share that with people outside our affinity groups?

The coffee shop is probably a good example - especially when we buy the coffee for the stranger we have just met.

I suspect it becomes sacred space when we share Christ in the encounter. Unless that happens we are just having coffee!

Unknown said...

wonderful blog, interesting posts. Congratulations! A good job you did. Keep all the best in here, keep up the good work .. well done .. smiles ..