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The story of the banquet is found in Luke 14:7-11. Jesus attends a Sabbath feast and notices how everyone comes into the room jockeying for the most honored seats. He warns them not to. Better to take the last place and be invited up, rather than presume the honored one and have to be moved down. He finishes with one of his favorite lines, “For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted.”
Whenever we set ourselves to be honored above others, or promote our own influence, people only become a tool to our own ends and real life and real love cease. They came into the party with their eyes glued on the head-table.
Who wouldn’t? Banquets are designed to draw attention to the front of the room and celebrate the most-honored guests. And few people walk in without wishing they could have that place of honor so that others would know how important they are.
I don’t think Jesus’ point was to take the last place as a way to get to what you think is first place. Maybe his point was that the last place in a room is really the best place to enjoy him and love others in a way that is meaningful and transforming.
I don’t know of a story that better answers all of our how-to questions. How do I find relationship, fellowship, or an outlet for my creative expression? Instead of looking for what we don’t have, Luke 14 invites us into the space of responding to God’s working right where we are. Rather than having to make something happen by our own wisdom or ingenuity, the path to God’s life comes by loving the people he has already put before us, applying our gifts to their needs. I’m convinced that will create opportunity enough for whatever God wants to give us and what he desires us to share with us.
(Excerpts from “How Do I…” Article in BodyLife newsletter, March 2010, by Wayne Jacobsen)
In my area of Augusta (30909 zipcode) I’ve discovered that there are loads of people who loves the arts… And if you read the Metro Spirit and follow the arts scene, you know that there are plenty of people who wish they could not only experience the arts, but actively participate in aspects of art.
I’ve only been back a short few months to Augusta, after living for nearly 8 years in NC, and once again I’m struck with how much interest and emphasis there is here on the arts scene. I’d like to connect with others of similar interest… to participate and experience the arts scene here, and explore how God can be experienced through art.
Last year I was not able to participate in the 2008 General Conference of the UMC, but I’ve discovered that many people and much work went into creating an experience of God’s presence through the arts. One of the co-directors of the worship plan for the conference was Marcia McFee of http://www.marciamcfee.com/. Her site is called “Creating Worship with Deep Soul.”
“She is known across the country for sensory-rich worship that appeals to “traditionalists” as well as “contemporary” and “emerging” congregants. Her experience and expertise in coordinating musicians, visual designers, liturgists and technical personnel create an exciting and collaborative working environment.” (from her site, worship.htm)
A sensory-rich worship experience is what we hope and plan to create at Breathing | Space in the future. The beginning steps of such a worship experience will be part of the small group sessions of “Essence,” our first outreach small group offering. Experiencing God’s presence through art, music, visual and tactile participation will allow participants to begin to explore what is it to be a follower of Jesus Christ.