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Sunday, May 1, 2016

Sunday Sessions Current Read Searching for Sunday
by Rachel Held Evans pages 121-157

Welcome to my dining room table.

It's a little messy. The bread is crumbly. Pink wine doesn't last long enough for refills. But there's plenty of tea and good conversation to be had. It's where a group of women from my church (dubbed the FPC Women of Valor) meet every Sunday evening.

We talk about Christ, sometimes. But mostly we segue to topics as far and wide as Nickelodeon's Stick Stickly to career trysts.

I love it here. And I'd like to officially welcome you in.

When you're a writer the Proverbial They tell you two things: get a blog, and find your niche.

The whole market has felt a little smarmy to me. I hate hate contrived messages of "follow me here" or "tag these seven accounts for a chance to win a freebie which may or may not actually be a legitimate giveaway." They make me feel like an up-ticking number on a Facebook page rather than a person.

Plus, niches are for people who have their lives figured out. They're for people who paint from swatches and certainly don't procrastinate vacuuming or save all of their dishwashing for one night of the week.

But, I do have one thing figured out: we shouldn't try to go at it alone.

Any of it.

The mundane. The life-altering. The minor grievances. The diagnosis, the weight loss plan, the seeking – none of it. And that's what Sunday nights are about.

I realized that for someone who believes in the full-hearted community just as much as some people believe in gluten free diets, I don't do a well enough job of welcoming other people in. Strangers, acquaintances. Or readers.

Sunday Sessions will be a weekly post that will take you through the highlights of our group's discussion of our current book. For the past few weeks, we've discussed Rachel Held Evan's Searching for Sunday. Forgive me, but since we're already midway through, we'll dive right in. This section of the book is titled Communion.

Chapter 18: the Meal

Can I quote you on that?: "The first thing the world knew about Christians was that they ate together" (125).

The faith depicted in this chapter is radical. It made us wonder what is perceived is radical about the average, 20-something Christian in the 21st century. Whether you believe that communion is the literal blood and body of Christ, or a figurative sacrament that we take part in every month or so, Evans says, "...in every tradition I know, someone, at some point, says 'Remember'" (128).
Evans speaks in this chapter about how it's a shame that communion ceremonies aren't actual feasts. There's a church in New York City lead by a woman named Emily who makes communion come alive at the table.

"'We do church this way because people are hungry,' Emily explains...We do church this way...because people are looking for Jesus.'" (131).

Group thesis: No matter how you take your meal, no matter what the Lord's Table looks like in your congregation, we're to do it in remembrance of the cross and the man who hung there.

Our church celebrated communion today.
We want our remembrance of the cross to be reverent, not sedated. Not a thirty-second ritual.

Chapter 19: Methodist Dance Party

Group thesis: We agree – fog machines in church need to go.

This chapter spoke to us in many ways. Especially when Evans recounts serving communion to a woman who wrote a letter complaining about her presence at a youth event. Christ's body is broken for all of us. The sinner. The loud-mouths. The introverts. The people who take it seriously and the people who've made it a stagnant routine.

Can I quote you on that?: "Communion has a way for flattening things out like that, a way of entangling our roots and joining our hands" (140).

Chapter 20: Open Hands

Can I quote you on that?: "I'm no good at the releasing and receiving...Ours is a culture of achievement, of sufficiency, of bootstrap pulling and ladder climbing. We celebrate the winners, the leaders, the do-it-yourselfers...With giving, I can maintain some sense of power, some illusion of control. But receiving means the gig is up. Receiving means I'm not the boss of what comes into life..." (143).

Group thesis:
It's difficult to receive grace in a culture that says "be a 'girl boss!' Chug some coffee and get sh** done." How can we work better to be at peace and receive the Eucharist, receive all that Christ gives us, without wanting control?

Chapter 21: Open Table

Can I quote you on that?: "Sometimes the most radical act of Christian obedience is to share a meal with someone new."

Group thesis: The Table is for everyone. But why do we have such a hard time reaching out beyond our socioeconomic or even religious groups? Most of us have to work extremely hard to befriend people outside of the norm to our table. We want to be a loving people. A welcoming people.

Are you having your own Sunday night session? Follow along with us on Instagram: #SundaySessions. Next week we'll be discussing pages 161-188. We'd love to hear from you and have you join along.

*All quotes and passages represented in this blog are the intellectual property of Rachel Held Evans and her book, Searching for Sunday.

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