Thursday, April 17, 2014

Communion on BART

(left to right) Intern Lacey Hunter, Elder Tom Pack, Rev. Dawn Hyde

Things that were awkward about this morning:

- an incredibly tight clerical collar
- standing on the steps of BART holding elements (bread and juice)
- the eyes that stared at us

You see, today is Maundy Thursday. It is the day when we remember Jesus' final meal with his disciples right before he was betrayed, beaten and crucified on a cross.

At Mission Bay Community Church, we celebrate the sacrament of communion every Sunday because we view it as a vital part of our identity. We are fed so that we can feed the world. We extend the fellowship of communion after worship during dinner. Breaking bread with one another provides the space through which we get to see and know each other as children of God.

Per my post on Ash Wednesday, I feel pretty convicted to be in public space more as a pastor and to hold space as holy. So today, Lacey and I broke bread in the very public space of a BART station (Bay Area Rapid Transit) and offered God's love through this sacrament to those on their morning commute.

What we realized is that there is a lot of baggage around communion. People were much more willing to come forward and receive ashes (symbolizing their mortality) than they are to to come for communion (symbolizing new life). Interesting...

As Lacey and I reflected afterwards, we recognized the church's responsibility for creating a lot of baggage around communion. Centuries of rules dictating who is allowed to receive communion and who can bless and give it. The long stares of people passing by made me wonder how many were considering if they were really welcome to partake in the feast. Shouldn't this happen in church? Have I confessed recently? Can females do this?

I stand by the importance of us holding sacred space and pointing people back to God. I realize many people don't know what this day means or why it would even matter, but perhaps having two women in clerical collars holding the symbols of bread and cup sparks some interest. I like to think there will be a (small) bump in google searches for "communion," "bread and wine," or "who were those crazy women outside of Powell St. BART holding bread?" One can only hope :)

Communion is meant to be powerful. Jesus shared this meal right before he suffered and died. But, I don't think it is meant to portray power plays. I get communion and you don't. Or I can serve it and you can't. Pretty sure when we play that game we are missing Jesus' point.

Jesus charges us in his words at the table to love one another. "As I have loved you," Jesus says, "love one another." (John 13:34-35)

It can be uncomfortable to spread God's love out in public. But it can be pretty awesome and faithful, too.

No comments:

Post a Comment