Sunday, 30 April 2017

Breaking bread and open Scripture

The Easter story is a story of journeys into new life and new understanding.  We move from the incarnation to risen life through death, remorse and metanoia. For Christians it is a journey that starts at God's call on parents and godparents to bring their children to baptism and ends ... well it should not end as we are called into new life not death.  Just as on the Emmaus journey (Luke 24.13-35) our journey to baptism requires the scriptures to be opened to us.  It is an opening that invites us, just as Christ invited the disciples, to follow God more closely and in a personal relationship that opens up community.  If we do not see this in the liturgy of the baptism we have probably switched of as we have been through it sooo many times before and know the responses (ours) by heart.

The risen Christ walked with his disciples on the way to Emmaus and opened their eyes to the journey that is told in scripture.  He did this before sharing in a communal meal that brought him into community and thus opened the disciples eyes to his presence with them.  So what is the journey that we begin at baptism? The journey starts with ourselves as we enter the world we have needs that we express through animalistic expressions.  These come from deep seated survival instincts requiring us to demand attention from those around us.  Imagine a world that has a population that only makes demands for their own needs.  Oh! Perhaps, we do not have to imagine this after all.  The selfishness of a child is inherent and this is firmly portrayed in our Genesis stories of Adam and Eve and their offspring.  The originality of selfish wants that destroy community.  The Israelite's had all this in Egypt's fleshpots until they were taken out into the desert to re-affirm their communal lifestyle.  A lifestyle that was not inaugurated until they had washed themselves of everything Egyptian.  Only, of course, it is not that easy as they/we so rarely stick with the community but want their/our own wants rather than communal needs.  The Israelites/we do not rely on God but on their/our own strengths thus rejecting God's promise and so wander aimlessly through life instead.  In realising and turning back to God (metanoia), they/we find them/our-selves being washed and forgiven once more as they/we enter, via the Jordan, into the promises of God.  This is not easy and Scripture tells the story of the community's moves in and out of selflessness.  Eventually Christ re-emphasises the requirements of community, personal relationship with the other (ultimate and neighbour) and cost that we need to bear with joy.

Baptism in Christ brings us into community as we open ourselves to the other

This is our faith journey that is re-iterated for us as we come to baptise a new member of the community into the Christian way through Christ's death.  We re-iterate this journey at each of our communal gatherings to worship God as we come around the table to break bread and realise the risen Lord in our midst, as each and everyone of the community.  However, so often, just as portrayed in scripture we forget and do not see the joy expressed in our own lives.  The reason is that we insulate ourselves against others rather than opening ourselves up to others.  My personal views about how things are done become more important than the community to which I belong  This is similar to the 'prisoner's dilemma' and yet we, through our baptism, need to constantly remind ourselves that it is the gathered community around the table that is the body of Christ.  It is this that we are enjoined to mirror in the world to bring our joy and God's love into fruition in the world.  It is the communal expression that is paramount for our own relationships and fellowship with God.  In coming to Christ at our baptism, we are reminded of how important the community is and how unimportant are our own views.  It is in the breaking of the bread in the gathered community that Christ is found and the love of God is expressed in hope and joy.

No comments: