Yesterday I took a stab at the question of What is church? I received some great comments from that post – both in person and online. Thank you.
Today I saw a beer ad that I think pretty much sums up what church should be like. It’s an ad for Heineken. Instead of explaining it, click the link, and scroll down to the video, or you can watch the video directly here:
This is a powerful ad. And I think very honest too – which makes it powerful.
I can attest to the fact that when you get people who would normally disagree with each other (or worse) to sit down and eat together or have a drink together, something happens. Food and drinks have a way of leveling equalizing people. They have a way to drawing people together. They could have nothing else in common, but the mere fact that two people eat or drink together means that they do have something in common – basic humanity and the needs of living – food and drink.
Church should be like this. I think there is precedent for this too. Jesus ate his way through the Gospels. He ate with Pharisees and with tax collectors and a whole host of other people. One of most remembered moments is the Last Supper. Jesus knew the power of bringing people together and sharing a meal with them.
I have pastor friends who have started dinner churches and speak about the amazing things that happen at these gatherings.
When I was in Finland, I used the analogy of going to a bar to describe what the liturgy was all about. A friend at the University didn’t understand church and what went on, so I explained it this way – we came together looking forward to spending time together in this bar. That’s the gathering section of the liturgy. Then we’ve been talking about God and life. That’s the Word section. Now we are sharing some drinks and food together. We don’t agree about everything, yet we’re able to be here together sharing food and enjoying each other’s company. That’s the Meal portion. From here we’ll leave looking forward to the next time we can gather. That’s the Sending.
What we saw in the ad was the liturgy in a very practical form. What they experienced was God’s grace and without the words being said – forgiveness. They saw the humanity and the frailty and the guilt in the other person and chose to look past all of that without judgement. It that’s not what church is all about ultimately, I don’t know what is.