This is a follow-up on yesterday’s thoughts on reviving the narrative tradition among followers of Jesus. Here is a description of a possible format for telling His story. To some, it may seem a bit liturgical, but, hey, why not? We are telling the story in a reverent, and meaninful way. That’s what makes what we call “liturgy” helpful in worship. Picture friends sitting around the fire talking about the life of their most honored friend.I also have the prologue and epilogue for the ceremony, but this is a description of the circle.
A group of Christ-followers is seated in a rough circle. There is a table, perhaps a coffee table, set with two candles, bread and a cup of wine. The room is dimly lit. First, the facilitator reads, recites or shares an introduction for the evening, including a summary of the fall of humanity and God’s promise to restore the fallen by the giving of “the Seed.”
Candles are kindled as someone speaks something like:
- [Candle one] It was said of Jesus, “In Him was life, and the life was the light of men. And the light shines in the darkness, and the darkness cannot overpower it.” [John 1:4-5]
- [Candle two] Jesus said, “I am the light of the world; he who follows Me shall not walk in the darkness, but shall have the light of life.” [John 8:12]
There is now open participation. Everything spoken between the kindling of the candles and the extinguishing of them must be about Jesus. Someone might share the gospel message by recounting one of His parables or by recounting stories from the Lord’s life and ministry. Songs may be song that tell the story. There may be personal testimonies of encounters with Him. But, anything spoken should be able to be preceded with either, “Jesus said,” or with, “This is what Jesus did” or with, “it is said of Jesus” unless it is a prayer in response to what has just been shared. Prayers should be specific, personal, and prayed as a direct response to something that Jesus did or said or is written of Him. Songs start as brethren are moved to start them. This is not a time for “teaching” but for simply remembering the story.
Silences are expected, even welcomed.
This is done until it seems appropriate to tell about the night the Lord was betrayed. That’s when the story closes with the sharing of the Lord’s Table.
Before the bread is shared read 1 Cor 11:23-24:
- “For I received from the Lord that which I also delivered to you, that the Lord Jesus in the night in which He was betrayed took bread; and when He had given thanks, He broke it, and said, “This is My body, which is for you; do this in remembrance of Me.”
Then, preceding the cup read 1 Cor 11:25-26:
- “In the same way He took the cup also, after supper, saying, This cup is the new covenant in My blood; do this, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of Me.For as often as you eat this bread and drink the cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death until He comes.”
To finish the Lord’s Table read John 14:1-3.
- Jesus said, “Let not your heart be troubled; believe in God, believe also in Me. In My Father’s house are many dwelling places; if it were not so, I would have told you; for I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you to Myself; that where I am, there you may be also.
The facilitator recounts the resurrection, the Lord’s promised return and the coming of the Spirit.
Sing a song of Jesus, perhaps The Lord’s Prayer or a song that speaks of going into the world
Symbolize the passing of the light of Christ to everyone by extinguishing the candles one at a time and saying,
- [Candle one] Jesus said, “you are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden.”
- [Candle two] Jesus said, “Let your light shine before men in such a way that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father who is in heaven.”