Feeding His Flock


There were many things that I liked about the community church service we had last Sunday. Many grandparents were entranced with seeing their grandchildren go forward to cuddle a fluffy lamb during the children’s talk. Seeing the chancel, undercroft and Council Chamber flooded with children gave me the feeling that the whole Cathedral was alive with uses. I’m delighted that there was a time for reflection and discussion during the service. All this came in the context of offering the Lord thanks for how He gathers and leads His flock.
I am particularly grateful for the food set out during the social part of the event. The names of the musicians were in the program, but I don’t know who made the spinach salad or the brownies, yet the food for our bodies was a vital complement to the food for our souls, so many thanks to the food providers. I have always loved that our New Church Day picnics at the Cathedral are a time when we have been able to gather as a whole community to eat and worship together.
The Lord offers green pastures and still waters, setting a table before us and filling our cups (Psalm 23). “He will feed His flock like a shepherd. (Isaiah 40:11) In ancient times most worship centered around meals. Inside the Tabernacle of Israel was the table set with bread and wine, and outside was the altar, which was a grill where people’s gifts of meat and
grain were cooked for the sacrifices, which were daily, weekly, monthly, and annual meals in the presence of God. In general people held banquets within the Church in ancient times, both midday meals and suppers, in order that they might be brought into association with one another and joined together in love, and in order that they might inform one another about matters of love and faith, and so about the things of heaven.... This nourished people's minds, and also their bodies in a parallel and corresponding way. As a result they enjoyed good health and long life, they received intelligence and wisdom, and it brought them into communication with heaven, some into open communication with angels. (Secrets of Heaven 7996)
True Christianity 433-434 says that early Christians regularly gathered for such meals, suggesting that the best recreation for a New Church community is to eat together while sharing insights about the Lord and heaven in an atmosphere of love for the Lord and the neighbor. I’m grateful for the opportunity to do that at our community worship service.