The Community Guide below is based on Sunday’s teaching for our current series: Future Church. As your whole Community gathers (online or socially distanced), use the Community Guide below to give shape to your night together.
Begin by Practicing the Lord’s Supper Together (5 minutes)
Begin your night by partaking of the bread and the cup together. Have each person bring their own Communion elements. To facilitate your time, you can either ask a member of your Community to come ready with a short prayer, liturgy, or scripture reading, or assign someone to read the liturgy we’ve provided below and spend a moment in silence before continuing.
Host or Leader reads aloud:
The table of bread is now to be made ready.
It is the table of company with Jesus,
and all who love him.
It is the table of sharing with the poor of the world, with whom Jesus identified himself.
It is the table of Communion with the earth, in which Christ became incarnate.
So come to this table,
you who have much faith
and you who would like to have more;
you who have been here often
and you who have not been here for a long time; you who have tried to follow Jesus,
and you who have failed;
Come. It is Christ who invites us to meet him here.
through your goodness
we have this bread and wine to offer, which has come forth from the earth
and human hands have made.
May we know your presence in the sharing, so that we may know your touch
and presence in all things.
We celebrate the life that Jesus has shared among his community through the centuries, and shares with us now.
Made one in Christ
and one with each other,
we offer these gifts and with them ourselves, a single, living act of praise. Amen.
Emotional Health Check-in (10 Minutes)
As we focus in on this series, we want to continue to create space for checking in on each other, but doing so in a shorter amount of time. Take a few minutes to do an emotional health check-in with your Community, creating space for each person to answer the question below:
- Describe your week with three adjectives.
If the need arises, spend a few minutes praying for one another, asking God to meet needs and help each person carry what feels heavy right now.
Read this Overview (5 Mins)
It’s no secret that political polarization is at an all time high right now. Many of us feel the sensation of living within two Americas, one on the Right and one on the Left, and yet fitting neatly into neither. Others of us have lost relationships this year, not due to COVID-19, but to differences in belief and politics. Our culture is quicker than ever to disregard, divide, and demonize over politics.
And while the digital age has caused it to intensify, political polarization is nothing new. Into a world of tribe-against-tribe hostility came Jesus of Nazareth, who literally died to turn enemies into family, who said in his Sermon on the Mount: “Blessed are the peacemakers.” (Matthew 5v9)
Jesus had an uncanny ability to turn enemies into guests and guests into family. He did this through “radically ordinary hospitality,” just eating meals around a table. The word we use for “hospitality” came from philoxenian in Greek. It’s a compound word: Philo means love, Xenos means stranger or foreigner. Hospitality is the exact opposite of xenophobia.
It’s the love of the stranger. The welcome of all as a guest.
We ache, hope, and work for the healing of our divided nation, and few practices are more effective to this end than hospitality.
Debrief this Sunday’s Teaching (20 Minutes)
With that in mind, work through the following discussion questions as a Community:
- Can you think of a time where you experienced meaningful hospitality from someone else? What marked your experience?
- What would it be like for you to have a meal with an “enemy” or a stranger? Who could you imagine yourself inviting to dinner?
- What is your current practice of hospitality? Do you have any ideas for how to practice hospitality in a COVID/post-COVID world?
Practice For The Week Ahead: Revisiting your Rule of Life for Hospitality (10 Minutes)
This week, continue revising and working on your Rule of Life Chart, keeping in mind that the goal is not to fill in every box, but to come to a good balance and rhythm in each category.
As you work through the Hospitality section, consider what your existing practices are in this area and write them down. Take some time to consider and pray through what your next step in hospitality might be, and what God is inviting you into in this season of your life. Remember, aim to start where you are, not where you think you “should” be.
Below are a few ideas to get you started as you brainstorm and pray through your next step in hospitality.
- Entry-Level Practice: Take your first step into hospitality by inviting a neighbor or coworker on a walk. Consider buying them coffee or a meal to eat outdoors.
- Baseline Practice: As it’s safe, work towards adopting a monthly rhythm of hospitality. In the meantime, this could be setting aside a night on your calendar to practice hospitality in your home in the future. You can also experiment with COVID-friendly acts of hospitality, such as regular walks, picnics, dropping a meal off at the home of a neighbor or coworker.
- Reach Practice: Expand your practice of hospitality by scheduling a weekly night for having guests at your table.
Again, the goal is not to adopt a regimented practice of hospitality for the sake of checking a box, but for the purpose of being someone who day-by-day is becoming transformed and freed by time alone with God in the quiet.
Prayer (10 Minutes)
Spend a few minutes praying for God’s grace over each other, that we might become a people who seek refuge with the Father in the quiet place, and that there might be a sweeping renewal of the Holy Spirit in our city. Ask that God would stir up within us a desire to be with him in prayer and to serve him, one another, and our neighbor in love.