Of Potlucks, Power Rangers and People
by Pastor Lee Hemen
April 12, 2015
Every day they continued to meet together in the temple courts. They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts, praising God and enjoying the favor of all the people. And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved. (Acts 2:46-47 NIV)
These men are blemishes at your love feasts, eating with you without the slightest qualm–shepherds who feed only themselves. They are clouds without rain, blown along by the wind; autumn trees, without fruit and uprooted–twice dead. (Jude 1:12 NIV)
The body is a unit, though it is made up of many parts; and though all its parts are many, they form one body. So it is with Christ… But in fact God has arranged the parts in the body, every one of them, just as he wanted them to be. If they were all one part, where would the body be? … The eye cannot say to the hand, “I don’t need you!” And the head cannot say to the feet, “I don’t need you!” … If one part suffers, every part suffers with it; if one part is honored, every part rejoices with it. Now you are the body of Christ, and each one of you is a part of it. (1 Corinthians 12:12, 18-19, 21, 26-27 NIV)
Potlucks are a strange and wonderful occurrence in the church and I am sad because I am missing one right now. They are sacred in a sense. I have noticed that other groups have tried to emulate them, hoping to gain the same kind of experience the church does, but while they are enjoyable, they never obtain the same comradeship and connection that a church potluck does. Why is that? I believe it goes back to the very foundation of who Jesus was and how he brought together tax collectors, prostitutes, fishermen, Pharisees, priests, soldiers, businessmen, and others to follow him. To become his church, his body in the world doing his work and will. His disciples were a cornucopia of folks united in him. This is why when after his ascension the church was instructed to be together until he provided the empowerment and proof they needed in order to be his church. The God house-keeping seal of approval, the Holy Spirit!
After Pentecost, the early church saw the spiritual and sacredness of the body of Christ being together, untied and sharing that which was most intimate and important for sustaining life, a common meal. The breaking of bread is not just an offhanded reference to the Lord’s Supper, but we sense it is more, they ate together. They shared a common meal that everyone participated in by bringing something and eating together. In fact, these meals were known as “love feasts” by the early church because it showed the love of Jesus toward each member of his local church. Each believer shared what they could and everyone ate. In fact when the Corinthian church perverted the common meals and the remembrance of the Lord’s Supper, Paul resoundingly scolded them! (1 Corinthians 11:18-33)
I realized the other day while my grandson was watching the old children’s TV show The Mighty Morphing Power Rangers that this is a good illustration of what a potluck, and therefore the church, is supposed to be. (You knew I had to bring them into this.) Each Ranger has gifts and is pretty awesome alone and can face a lot of evil bad guys, but when they become overwhelmed they seek each other out and then form one mighty Power Ranger. This machine made up of all the Rangers cannot work without all of them coming together as a unit, just like the church.
The church’s one focus is to be Jesus. We are his body, his church. When we come together to worship, to minister, and to eat together there is a sacredness and empowerment we cannot enjoy without one another. Eating a meal is an intimate affair and when we enjoy a meal together we are setting aside ourselves and sharing that which is most basic to our existence. This is why I love eating at the table with my family, but even more so when we come together as a church, the body of Christ and break bread together!
Potlucks are more than tuna casseroles, bread rolls, and homemade pies; they are the essence, the foundation of that which the church is meant to be. People intimately sharing themselves, what they have, with one another in Jesus to worship and serve him. When we eat together we share more than just food we have bought or made, we share ourselves. Far too many churches now depend on desperately trying to build intimacy in sixty minutes or more on Sunday without any actual fellowship occurring. It cannot happen. You have to break bread together because this sharing empowers us to be the body of Christ we are meant to be. As we eat together we talk together. We get to know and understand one another better. Our strengths and yes our weaknesses as well. We become a church family. This is extremely important and something a mega church cannot do if it only meets in manufactured worship once a week on Sundays. Afterwards when we have to work, minister, or go forth into the ungodly world we know there are others whom we have ate with and actually know right there with us who have our back, and are part of the grand body of believers the church. Therefore do not disdain neglect or not participate in your church’s next potluck, enjoy it, bring something, and benefit from the fellowship that it evokes. I believe this is what Jesus would want you to do, beside you can get a lot of great recipes as well!
This article is copyrighted © 2015 by Lee Hemen and is the sole property of Lee Hemen, and may not be used unless you quote the entire article and have my permission.