With the recent tragic passing of Rachel Held Evans, my husband Troy and I have been reflecting upon a moment in the last year that moved us both to tears.
We were at a conference that Rachel co-founded with our friend, Sarah Bessey. At the end of the two day event communion was made available to those that wished to come to the table.
That moment felt like an intentional whisper of love and a promise of light from God. It happened last October in what was for us a year of relative darkness.
As we stood to receive communion we chose the station nearest to our seats. We stood in line a short time. When we reached the table we looked into the faces of three beautiful reflections of the image of God. (Genesis 1:27)
We were offered the cup and the bread by:
Author, Nish Weiseth,
Spoken word / Hiphop artist, Jason Petty (known by most as Propaganda),
Author, Jeff Chu.
The three of them come from entirely different backgrounds and upbringings and religious traditions. Their lives, struggles, hurts, joys, and experiences are quite different, save one thing. They all call Jesus their Lord and follow hard after Him. The all believe that God is love.
When we were served the cup and the bread by these three, we wondered if we were experiencing our own personal peek at the Kingdom. (On earth as it is in Heaven.)
Perhaps you read or heard of William P. Young's book, The Shack. If not, it is a story written about a very human God.
The book forces the reader (well, it forced me) to look at the nature of God.
In the book, written 12 years ago, Young dared to picture God as female. Beyond that the author intentionally developed the Trinity into the characters of
"Papa" a large welcoming and always beaming African woman
Jesus, a Middle Eastern man wearing a belt of tools; ready for physical labor,
the Holy Spirit, an Asian woman in the clothing of a groundskeeper or perhaps a gardener.
The book was controversial because it did not play by the rules and some of the thought police felt it sacrilege.
I loved it.
If God is Love and we are created in God's image, then we are also created to love God and one another with the same compassionate and intense love exemplified between the Trinity in The Shack.
The day I was served communion by Prop, Nish, and Jeff, I felt closer to God's heart than I had felt in a very long time.
I won't ever forget it.
"This is what the kingdom is like: a bunch of outcasts and oddballs gathered at a table, not because they are rich or worthy or good, but because they are hungry, because they said yes. And there's always room for more."-Rachel Held Evans