“Go therefore into the main streets and invite everyone you find to the wedding banquet.’ Those slaves went out into the streets and gathered all whom they found, both good and bad; so the wedding hall was filled with guests”
On Sunday, October 11, we heard the Parable of the Wedding Banquet from the Gospel of Matthew 22, where Jesus reminds us that God’s gracious invitation is extended to all, though some may take that invitation lightly.
Last Thursday evening at 6:00 p.m., we held our first virtual Fall Gathering (Dinner Church). It was delightful to see so many folks tune in and join us as we shared a virtual meal together. When Pastor Michael Adam Beck, from Fresh Expressions, was in Northwestern Ohio, he led a small group of us through a Dinner Church experience at Call of the Canyon Café in Bowling Green, Ohio.
Just prior to the meal, Pastor Michael assigned each of us a role to play. One of us was assigned to be a recovering addict. Another was assigned to portray a person who recently experienced a divorce. I was assigned as one who had been dragged (against my will) to Dinner Church by a friend.
Pastor Michael led us through a Jesus story (not a sermon), and we were all invited to participate while in character. It was a lot of fun, and truly “eye opening”. Now I had participated in Dinner Church services before. But this was different, because my previous Dinner Church experiences had been with other church folks. I started to wonder (and experience) how Dinner Church might be different, when the purpose is to meet and build relationships with those who are unconnected to Christian community. What might Dinner Church look like if the focus was less on the “insiders” and more on those living in our neighborhoods and communities? Is there a place in your community that may be hungry enough to experience Dinner Church?
And now that I’ve piqued your interest about reaching out to your neighborhood and community, what do you think about Archbishop William Temple’s (1881-1944) quote:
“The Church exists primarily for the sake of those
who are still outside it”.