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E-gram May 25, 2015

I am grateful to be part of a church that engages in periodical ecumenical worship. May this be something that North Danvers Mennonite Church continues to value and participate in for years to come. There is something special about worshiping God as a unified body of Christ in the communities of Danvers and Carlock, instead of always worshiping in separate spaces only a couple of miles away from each other.

Here is a quote from theologian N.T. Wright on the subject of ecumenical worship that I think you all will appreciate. I encourage you to read Galatians 2 as you interact with this quote as well, particularly the latter half of the chapter. Here is a link to Galatians 2 (NLT) online.

"At the heart of Galatians 2 is not an abstract individualized salvation, but a common meal. Paul does not want the Galatians to wait until they have agreed on all doctrinal arguments before they can sit down and eat together. Not to eat together is already to get the answer wrong. The whole point of his argument is that all those who belong to Christ belong at the same table with one another.

The relevance of this today should be obvious. The differences between us, as twentieth-century Christians, all too often reflect cultural, philosophical and tribal divides, rather than anything that should keep us apart from full and glad eucharistic fellowship. I believe the church should recognize, as a matter of biblical and Christian obedience, that it is time to put the horse back before the cart, and that we are far, far more likely to reach doctrinal agreement between our different churches if we do so within the context of that common meal which belongs equally to us all because it is the meal of the Lord whom we all worship. Inter-communion, in other words, is not something we should regard as the prize to be gained at the end of the ecumenical road; it is the very paving of the road itself. If we wonder why we haven't been travelling very fast down the road of late, maybe it's because, without the proper paving, we've got stuck in the mud."

N.T. Wright, For All God's Worth: True Worship and the Calling of the Church


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