Friday, July 17, 2009

Domestic Church in Liverpool

An experience of domestic church I won’t forget:

My first night in Liverpool, staying with my lovely friend Sheila and two foreign exchange students she is hosting for the next few weeks, I experienced domestic church. It was that feeling of worshipping God where only two or three (well, in our case four) are gathered.

Before devouring steak, fries, onion rings and green peas (and roley poley jam filled caked for desert), we came together to say an evening prayer. Borrowing from the Christian prayer book, I invited Sergio, the student from Spain, to read the Psalms. I figured it could be a way for him to practice speaking and reading some English. Also, I had found out that both he and Theo, the young man from France staying with us, were Catholic Christians. Alongside Sheila, the Catholic woman who has helped organize my coming on a pilgrimage with the Diocese of Shrewsbury to Lourdes, France, we all prayed in her house the universal common prayers that people all over the world say in the church. The psalms we prayed were the same psalms that Jesus and his apostles and disciples would pray at night after having spent the day in ministry preaching and teaching. (Granted he wasn’t speaking in English---not even the Queen’s English). Nevertheless, the fact that all of us were coming together in a common prayer style, in communion, before eating a meal together, made me reflect on a most basic paradox of what it means to be a person: while we are all unique and have our own sense of culture and self, we are all one in the sense that we all need food to survive, we all cherish hospitality and crave community and friendship and love.

I think what made me most happy about the meal wasn’t the steak doused in Worchester Sauce, or the French (English) fries dipped liberally in Daddie’s brand ketchup. I think what I loved the most about the meal was how it symbolized an essential element of my faith. And I thank God for being able to share in that experience.

Peace and blessings~

With love,

Your friend bob : )

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