One Christmas, when I was living in North Carolina, I was invited to a Moravian Love Feast. It was a beautiful candlelight service of singing, scripture, and testimonies, shared around a simple meal of sweet bread and even sweeter coffee. It took an army to organize, from the leadership of the worship to the preparation, serving, and clean up of the meal.
My friend BJ Jackson introduced me recently to a different kind of love feast. At the end of the worship service we began to sing They’ll Know We Are Christians By Our Love. We followed the song leader and guitar player outside to several tables set with grapes and goldfish crackers. We were instructed to take a grape and a cracker and to offer them to another person along with a word of grace, thanksgiving, encouragement or reconciliation. You could literally feed the other person or hand him/her the food. You could go back to the table as many times as you like, repeating the process with as many people as you like. You could not feed yourself.
This process prompted a joyful and meaningful time of sharing. Its simplicity allowed everyone, including the leaders, a chance to participate. It gave us a little taste (pun intended) of what fellowship in the early church might have felt like or what the heavenly banquet might feel like, where people and presence are valued most.
The table is rich-laden; feast royally, all of you! The calf is fattened; let no one go forth hungry! Let all partake of the Feast of Faith. Let all receive the riches of goodness. Let none lament their poverty, for the Universal Kingdom has been revealed.
– John Chrysostom
This worship idea was part of a series of services designed by the worship planning team for the 2011 Summer Church Music Workshop sponsored by the Florida Chapter of the Fellowship of United Methodists in Music and Worship Arts. The workshop is a terrific yearly event which includes sessions for adults and youth in areas such as traditional choir, contemporary worship, liturgical dance, sign language, handbells, banner making, altar table displays, organ, guitar, etc. plus great worship and fellowship. For more information, go to http://floridafellowship.org/