the feast…a journey in Nelson

I was visiting our local Starbucks today and was asked by a couple of the long-term employees what it is I do as a pastor.

I don’t mind using the “P” word with certain unchurched people as it seems to open the door to deeper, more intimate conversation. I become a type of sage, I guess. I stumbled through an answer that sounded quite unspiritual; “I spend time with people. I do some writing but most days I just hang out with people and build relationships. I guess you could say I get to float around and just love people.” I realize this sounds quite vague but for the most part, it’s accurate.

Every two weeks we gather as a community of followers of Jesus and spiritual sojourners for a feast and we have two new focus groups that meet during the week. There is some planning that goes into those activities but we mainly spend time “out” with the people. We are strategic, prayerful, and practical when doing so but we feel a tremendous calling to take Jesus and the Kingdom to people.

We are feasting tonight, Friday. We are hosting a big fondue dinner. We will do chocolate, oil, and cheese fondue. There will be fruit; all sorts of vegetables and meats, and of course some good wine. The guests of honour… three Starbuck’s employees and one spouse. It took over six months of developing relationships to get to this place; six months of buying more coffee than I could drink; six months of investment; six months of not knowing how things will turn out in the end.

I have another new friend in town, a burned-out-on-church PK. I explained to him the reason why we were going to such an expense to feast, “We spare no expense because Jesus spared no expense. As a result we will go without for a while but then so did Jesus. God’s love is extravagant, therefore our Friday night dinner will be too. One day we will feast a great feast but for now we can invite others to a foretaste. You see, on Friday night we are having church.” My friend will be joining us for dinner.

I appreciate the following caption from the book The Tangible Kingdom by Hugh Halter and Matt Smay;

“The incarnational big story gospel will require a place of discovery, where people will be able to see the truth before they hear about it. This place will not be a location but a community of people who are inclusive of everyone. These people will be making eternity attractive by how they live such selfless lives now, and will be modeling life in a New Kingdom in ways that will make it easy for other people to give it a try. People like this aren’t desperate to convert anyone; they are desperate to be like Christ and to be where Christ is. Their heartbeat to be transformed into the image of Christ, and to pray and work for the little specks of transformation in everyone and everything they touch. Success is faithfulness. The rest is up to God.”

In our time here we have gathered around forty people to “the table.” Most, if not all, have been gathered in a similar fashion to our Starbuck’s friends. We go where they are. We gather where they gather. For it is there, in those sacred spaces of the everyday, we find those who bare His image and we learn to love as we were meant to love…the incarnational way.

Daniel Snell
Nelson, B.C…. NVC

~ by blueporch on October 22, 2010.

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