Four times a year we gather as one church for the Love Feast, enjoying three major movements: baptisms, receiving people into our covenant, and receiving from the Lord’s table.
It begins with baptism—you can see our pastors Julie, Jonny, and Rachel baptizing Jasmine, Jabbar, and Matt, respectively. Steve and Billy also wanted to make a public statement in this ritual that identifies with the death and resurrection of Jesus. We make space for people to make the conscious choice for how they want to live their adult lives. It’s inspiring and this time a bit chilly!
Our ceremony moved into a time to listen and receive people as part of our covenant. Rather than having contracts or membership that hold us together, we choose to make a covenant of love. This time Eric, Jasmine, Stephen, Stephanie, Shawna, Jabbar, Matt, Gina, Michael, Liz, Tayah, Zoe, James, Devon, Isabel, Katie, and Drew all made the step. Both stories about these new partners as well as their own reasons for wanting a deeper sense of connection and responsibility filled me up.
The climax of the love feast happens when we break the bread and share in the cup together, enjoying communion with God and the rest of the Body of Christ. These times are particularly special because we don’t have this ceremony as part of our normal weekly gatherings and it’s perhaps the oldest Christian tradition.
The same words the apostle Paul wrote (and we used on Saturday) still are resonating with me as I reflect on these new partners and their stories.
I thank my God every time I remember you. In all my prayers for all of you, I always pray with joy because of your partnership in the gospel from the first day until now, being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus. -Philippians 1:3-6