Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Sully Notes 3 | A Meal with Jesus: Discovering Grace, Community and Mission Around the Table Part 3 of 3

Sully Notes 3 A Meal with Jesus Tim Chester Missional Community Emmaus City Church Worcester MA

Sully Notes 3: Books in 25 minutes or less

Sully Notes are meant to provide you with direct quotes from some books I've read in the last year, so you can get a taste of the overall theme of the book and then begin to chew on what your life might look like if you applied what you read.

Here are links to the previous Sully Notes books:

And here are the links to the previous posts in the Sully Notes 3 A Meal with Jesus series:


A Meal with Jesus: Discovering Grace, Community and Mission Around the Table | Sully Notes 3: Part 3 of 3 

Chapter 5 | Meals as Enacted Enacted Salvation: Luke 22

"The communion meal reorients life by relocating us in the story told by the Word. Instead of being defined by the stories of our culture, we live as participants in God’s story. And the meal points to the goal: eating in the presence of God as a celebration of his generosity in creation and salvation. We anticipate this in every meal, but especially in the Lord’s Supper." – pg. 114

"Peter Leithart (says) that the bread we eat in communion tells us that the future new creation is not a 'cancellation of this-worldly concerns.' Rather, it’s this world transformed. Eating communion bread is the beginning and sign of the new creation. And the fact that it’s prepared bread, not plain wheat, suggests the cultural, social, and technological structures required for its production will also be renewed. When the disparate people of God come together and express community around the table, united as we are in Christ, then the promised feast finds fulfillment. When we celebrate the goodness of creation as we enjoy our food, then the promised feast finds fulfillment, and we anticipate the renewal of creation. When we eat together in the presence of God by his Spirit, then the promised feast finds fulfillment." – pg. 115

"Communion should be a feast of friends shared with laughter, tears, prayers, and stories. We celebrate the community life that God gives us through the cross and in the Spirit. We can’t celebrate it with heads bowed and eyes closed, alone in our private thoughts and strangely solitary even as we’re surrounded by other people. When we recapture the Lord’s Supper as a feast of friends, celebrated as a meal in the presence of the Spirit, then it will become something we earnestly desire. It will become the high point of our life together as the people of God. In this sad and broken world, the Lord’s Supper is a moment of joy, because it’s a moment of the future." – pgs. 118-119

"Communion is a reminder to us. But it may also be a reminder to God. The words we so often hear, 'do this in remembrance of me,' are literally 'do this for my memorial' (see Leviticus 2:2, 9, 16; 5:12). Just as the rainbow in the covenant with Noah was given not to remind us of God’s love, but to remind God of his promises (Genesis 9:12-17), so perhaps the bread and wine are to remind God of his new covenant. When God remembers his covenant, it doesn’t mean he’s previously forgotten, but that he’s about to act in keeping with his covenant (ex. 6:5-6). The Lord’s Supper is a call to God to act in keeping with his covenant: forgiving us, accepting us, and welcoming us to the Table through the finished work of Christ." – pg. 121

"'The cup of blessing that we bless, it is not a participation in the blood of Christ? The bread that we break, is it not a participation in the body of Christ?' (1 Corinthians 10:16). We’re not observers around the Communion table. We’re participants. We do something. We ingest something. If the Eucharist involved just some words, then we’d be mere hearers, passively observing the drama of salvation at a distance. But bread and wine draw us in. This salvation becomes our salvation. Objectively our salvation doesn’t depend on participation in the Lord’s Supper. It’s not a magic meal. But the Lord’s Supper is described as ‘communion’ or ‘participation.’ Through the Communion meal, salvation becomes a subjective reality for us afresh. We enact our union with Christ, and in him find we’re forgiven, justified, and adopted." – pgs. 122-123

"In a busy culture with people desperate to succeed, we practice in Communion resting on the finished work of Christ. In a fragmented culture that is radically individualistic, we practice in Communion belonging to one another. In a dissatisfied culture of constant striving, we practice in Communion receiving this world with joy as a gift from God. In a narcissistic culture of self-fulfillment, we practice in Communion joyous self-denial and service. In a proud culture of self-promotion, we practice in Communion humility and generosity. All these practices are habit-forming, and so seep into the rest of our lives. After all this has been said, remember Jesus didn’t say, ‘Think this in remembrance of me.’ The Lord’s Supper serves its purposes not when it’s written about in books, but when it’s shared in the Christian community." – pg. 124

Chapter 6 | Meals as Enacted Promise: Luke 24

"(Jesus) wants to be seen eating so that we will realize that resurrection is not the negation of creation, but its renewal and fulfillment. The resurrection of Jesus is the promise and beginning of the renewal of all things, and the future is a physical future on a renewed earth. It’s a future with broiled fish. We will enjoy not just food, but cooking and fermenting and brewing. ‘On this mountain the LORD of hosts will make for all peoples a feast of rich food, a feast of well-aged wine, of rich food full of marrow, of aged wine well refined' (Isaiah 25:6). … salvation, too, is experienced in the body. Jesus is the firstborn from among the dead, the firstfruits of a great harvest. And he is embodied. He eats (Luke 24:42-43). He cooks (John 21:9-14). He says: ‘Come and have breakfast’ (John 21:12)." – pgs. 125-126

"Christ doesn’t begin with a resurrection pronouncement. He begins with a question: ‘What is this conversation that you are holding with each other as you walk? ...' (Luke 24:17). He gives them space to tell their story, to share their pain, to speak their disappointment. Luke captures the drama of it: 'And they stood still, looking sad' (v. 17). They’re walking, but they have to stop before they can begin. We need to begin our interaction with people with a question much more often than we do. Only as we enter into their stories, their hopes, and their disappointments will our message connect and have meaning. We mustn’t fear others’ pain or hide our own, for Christ is with us even if we don’t always recognize him. … Christian mission, and in particular the practice of evangelism, has often ignored the order I am suggesting here, wanting to reverse the sequence in this story by beginning at the end, declaring the triumph of the resurrection without listening to the indications of pain, doubt and anger of those who have turned away from Jerusalem. The result is that the message declared by Christians is simply unbelievable for people whose emotional and spiritual experience renders them incapable of receiving such a message while their gaping wounds still require healing.’ It’s not just individuals who are walking their own version of the Emmaus road. Our whole world is between Good Friday and Easter Sunday. ‘We had hoped,’ our culture says. Modernity was full of hope, full of visions of progress. Capitalism. Socialism. Scientific progress. Liberalism. All were driven by derivative forms of Christian hope. All shared a sense that history was an onward march. But postmodernity recognizes the dark side of progress. The endemic poverty. The pollution of the planet. The social fragmentation. It distrusts the grand narrative of progress. ‘We had hoped.’…Christ’s resurrection is the promise of a new world. But we have not yet received resurrection bodies and our world has not yet been renewed (Romans 8:22-25). It remains under the sign of the cross. We live in a godless and godforsaken world – a world still under God’s curse. As Christians we have resurrection life, but we have it so we might live the way of the cross. We live between the cross and resurrection, between Good Friday and Easter Sunday." – pgs. 128-129

" … we walk alongside people on the Emmaus road not as victors, nor as people with all the answers, but as fellow human beings, fellow sinners, and fellow strugglers. Otherwise the rumor of resurrection will always sound incredible or glib. … The glory, power, and wisdom of Christ, says Paul in 1 Corinthians 1, are seen in the shame, weakness, and foolishness of the cross. And they’re seen in the cross-centered lives of those who follow Christ. Our resurrection life is revealed in our conformity to Christ in his death (2 Corinthians 4:10-12). We make God known to a post-Christian world by revealing him in cross-centered discipleship." – pgs. 130-131

" … in Luke’s Gospel, we get three stories that all take place in one day: early morning at the tomb, afternoon on the Emmaus road, and evening in Jerusalem. And all three stories follow the same pattern: 
  1. People are bewildered, disappointed, and fearful (Luke 24:4-5, 18, 21-22, 37). 
  2. They are rebuked (Luke 24:5-6, 25, 38-39). 
  3. They are taught Christ’s words or the Scriptures (Luke 24:6-8, 27, 44-45). 
  4. They are told that the message of God’s Word is that the Christ must suffer and die (Luke 24:7, 26, 46). 
  5. The result is that they go and tell others (Luke 24:9, 33-34, 47-48).” – pg. 131 

"If the risen Christ on that first Easter day made himself known through the Word, then we shouldn’t suppose we can make him known in any other way. No amount of human wisdom or philosophy or contemplation apart from the Bible will tell you the meaning of Jesus’s resurrection. No one in the Easter story has a clue what’s going on until Jesus explains it from the Bible. Only the exposition of the Word will make people’s hearts burn (Luke 24:32)." – pg. 132

"Like many people in churches today, (Martha in Luke 10:38-42) has not rejected Jesus’s words. But she’s distracted. We’re distracted by our careers, homes, holidays, gadgets, image, and investments. Jesus says that one thing is necessary: to sit at his feet and listen to his Word. This story doesn’t promote a spirituality of disengagement or a contemplative life. It offers a word of invitation. It reorients us to the Word that promises a future banquet. This promise liberates us from the worries of this world so that we can put first God’s kingdom. Sustained by the words of Jesus, we’re set free to care for those we meet on the road whom others pass by, like the Samaritan in the preceding story, despite the risks and the costs (Luke 10:30-35)." – pg. 135

"The future of Christianity lies not in a return to the dominance of Christendom, but in small, intimate communities of light. Often they’re unseen by history. But they’re what transform neighborhoods and cities. … An encounter with Christ is a call to action, to involvement, to participation. You can’t remain a passive observer." – pgs. 136-137

"The scientific revolution, the Enlightenment, and modernity all lead to this terrible conclusion: God is dead, and we live in the world without him. But this is where the message of the cross begins. God has died, and the world was without God. But on the third day he rose again. Forsaken by God, Christ took upon himself the curse of humanity to redeem the world. Now risen as Lord, he lays claim to all of life. The reason we’re sent out in mission is that all authority has been given to the Son. The world was without God, but now it’s claimed in Christ’s name." – pg. 138

" … creation, redemption, mission – is ‘for’ this: that we might eat together in the presence of God. God created the world so we might eat with him. The food we consume, the table around which we sit, and the companions gathered with us have as their end our communion with one another and with God. … We proclaim Christ in mission so that others might hear the invitation to join the feast." – pg. 138

Curiosity piqued? Something inside you being stirred? Go ahead and connect.

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