Every Wednesday we have a group that comes for 10:30 AM church (give or take a few minutes), followed by a trip to our local Arby’s restaurant. You know it really sounds kind of funny but it is really a great spiritual exercise.
You see each we a group of faithful take time from their lives to be together. In the togetherness there is love and hope and community. I really believe that while we have always professed 7 sacraments in the church, we should have eight. The eighth being community. I would define this sacrament to be the outward sign of God’s love as an expressed in BEING church. We often talk about going to church. This of course reduces the idea of church to a place or a structure. I think that church is a way of being. That sacramental community is evidenced at St. Mark’s in many ways. “The Arby’s Group” is a good example.
There is nothing really complex or profound about Wednesday mornings. In fact, it is quite the contrary. It is simple, quiet, and direct. The basic simplicity of the liturgy is held out almost naked for all who come to see. Having stripped away all of the extra ritual we have left the bareness of an early church community. The components being; A Gathering of the Community, The Proclamation of the Word, Prayers and Intercessions, The Great Thanksgiving, and the Dismissal. The real heart of the liturgy for us on Wednesday is the time of prayer. It is the reason we gather. We are motivated to pray for peace, for the world, for the oppressed, for ourselves, for the church but most of all to pray for others around us. It is a small goup of Christians breaking bread around a table. A real example of an early church community.
The time we spend is quality time. There is a building of relationships between all who attend. There is diversity in the group and there is integrity in the group. The time that we spend is not just in prayer and worship but we make a very clear statement at the end of each Eucharist – "Let us go to Arby’s to Love and Serve the Lord". It sounds funny and flippant on the surface. What is behind it is far more intentional. You see there are people who come to Arby’s each week who know who we are by our laughter, our conversation and our sheer joy to be together. We are bearing witness to the Love of Christ. we break bread together again in a different context. We build community. We are loving and serving the Lord. We are being the eighth sacrament – we are living community. We are being church!
If you would like for this group of Christians who model their Wednesdays on Early church worship to pray for you or someone you love – send along a note or a post. If you are in the area – join us on Wednesdays for a Beef and Cheddar Sandwich … or since my new found lifestyle change – a Garden Salad. Church begins at 10:30 …sort of…