Reconnect. Rearrange. Rediscover.
What a surprising discipleship adventure we’ve had in the Reconnect Community over the last few weeks. In these strange lockdown days our practice has been to look at a Bible passage during the previous few days or week and then meet to reflect together on Zoom on a Sunday lunchtime. Each person on the call takes a turn to offer their own pre-prepared response to the passage, or to pass in favour of listening to others. We have been sharing thoughts, music, poetry, prayers, artwork, Lego builds, crochet, craft, jokes and more as the rest of us listen (usually in awe, at the depth of discovering God which is happening in peoples lives all over the place!).
I have experimented with this pre-prepared approach in a different community, by facilitating inter-generational gatherings, in those far off ‘face to face’ days and have seen some playful, powerful and Holy moments.
I remember a Dad being dared to play the ‘trust’ game; to fall backwards into the arms of his teenage son as we reflected on following Jesus.
I remember, one of our elders offering a moving poem/prayer to be read by a friend as an act of worship.
I remember a 10 year old sharing her question in response to Abraham being asked to sacrifice Isaac “I don’t like this story because I don’t know why God is teasing Abraham?”
Yes, there were struggles, in the gatherings, as we didn’t always hear one another, or understand one another. We were reminded that Jesus’ disciples sometimes needed to quiz him to explain further once they had been hooked in by a story. In these strange times, technical challenges on zoom have limited our hearing sometimes. As we have worked not just to listen but also to really understand each other’s offerings, to follow up with phone calls and WhatsApp conversation, deep learning has been happening.
The inter-generational group had to learn how to hold the variety of theology and culture which emerged. Worshipping alongside one another in full consciousness of our differences was like discovering treasure in a field. This has been exactly the same experience for us recently online. The amazingly diverse collection of offerings has challenged and unearthed treasure in our ongoing discipleship.
In the church building, I had to physically change our meeting space into a circle so that there was space for everyone to be equally part of the gathering and equally able to see. It turns out that our full screen (and a bit) of faces listening to one person sharing on Zoom, is a bit like sitting in a circle. The fact that only one person can speak at a time, allows new voices to speak into deep, attentive listening.
Maybe, as Jonny Baker suggested this week, this is ‘flipped church’. Or maybe its Curious Habits for Rich, Holy, Christian Understanding? Or Understanding Holy Community by Having Routines Challenged? Or even Revealing Christ through Having Unusual Communication Habits?
However you look at it, it’s CHURCH rearranged a bit and we’ve rediscovered God’s life bursting out everywhere.