Inspired by the story of the walk to Emmaus and the way in which the disciples recognized Jesus in the breaking of bread, the recording of worship for the third week of Easter at St. Paul’s Church, Essex and Trinity Church, Cottam happened in the rector’s home, in the kitchen.
Where do we encounter God?
It is a blessing that many can answer this question by references to our church buildings as we worship and in the various ways we experience our church families. It is also a blessing that God speaks to us in many different ways. In those times when we are unable to enter our church buildings or gather with the church family, we are challenged to be intentional in recognising that plethora of ways in which God meets us.
In the hopes of exploring this more deeply through the alternative worship provided via technology, during Eastertide, St. Paul’s Anglican Church, Essex and Trinity Anglican Church, Cottam have been ‘meeting’ in alternative places and spaces. This includes worship recorded in the home of the rector.
Inspired by the story of the walk to Emmaus and the way in which the disciples recognized Jesus in the breaking of bread, the recording of worship for the third week of Easter happened in the rector’s home, in the kitchen. The kitchen is, after all, considered the heart of the home, where people gather and engage in fellowship through food. Thus it can be a meaningful space in which to explore fellowship with God who gives us food, family and friends. To further this experience, the sermon included the act of making bread.
It began with the ‘stories’ behind ingredients added as a metaphor for the stories of faith Jesus shared on the road to Emmaus. While each ingredient on its own is significant and important, so too is each of the prophets about whom Jesus spoke. As the ingredients were brought together, the act of kneading became the sign in which Jesus kneads together the entire history of God’s relationship with the world and offers it in a new way to those open to receive it. Through the ‘magic’ of video editing (services are pre-recorded) the sermon continued with a baked loaf of bread, a sign of who Jesus is and who we are called to be in this world.
Some say that when life hands you lemons, make lemonade. In this time when we cannot meet in the same places and spaces we so easily associate with God, we are given the opportunity to embrace the reminders that God’s presence extends far beyond these spaces and places. We have the opportunity to seek God more intentionally in the ordinary and extraordinary moments of our lives. What that looks like for each individual and each community will be different. What is truly important is to know that regardless of where and how we look, we can encounter God. May your journeys be filled with wonderful moments of grace and awe that leave space for transformation and renewal.
Rev. Chris Brouillard Coyle is the rector at St. Paul’s, Essex and Trinity, Cottam.