A Meal That Tasted of Freedom

April 13th 2017 Maundy Thursday
The Garden Church
Rev. Anna Woofenden

Listen to the audio

“On the night in which he was betrayed, our Lord Jesus gathered with his faltering friends for a meal that tasted of freedom.” These words from a communion liturgy have been haunting me.

A meal that tasted of freedom. Faltering friends gathered, for a meal that tasted of freedom. This evening we gather to remember the Last Supper, that Passover meal that Jesus shared with his disciples before he was crucified the next day. This evening we gather to mark the next movement in the unfolding story of Holy Week, to touch the dust, the feet, to break the bread, and pour the water, to take the towel and bend down and wash each other’s feet.

When we were last together, we gathered with Jesus on Palm Sunday, this triumphal entry, as the people who were struggling and oppressed flooded to the streets crying out “Hosanna! Lord save us!” We walked these steps, praying and longing for the coming of justice and compassion, seeking the peace of the city, calling for people to be fed, and for mourning to be turned into joy. We held our palm branches high and claimed the promises of a kingdom that is beyond the brokenness of this world, while directly embedded in it. And as the people in Jerusalem longed for Jesus to come and save and change it all, we cried out for a king to save us, while knowing that the story has a twist coming.

I wonder by the time the disciples got to this Thursday Passover if they might have started getting wind of the plot twist. That this king, this savior, would not be rescuing them in the way they had thought and that the freedom he was offering was something beyond the economic bondage of empire they were stuck in. As they sat down to share the Passover Meal together, gathered in that upper room, I wonder if that longing for freedom was still lingering in the room as they celebrated the Passover that their ancestors had been cerebrating since the exodus so many generations ago, and that they desired now.

And here, again, Jesus doesn’t give them what they are looking for in the way they were looking for it. Instead, he tells them that the bread is his body, the cup his blood, and that if they really love each other, to wash each other’s feet.

And here’s the thing that slays me: As he shared these poignant moments and gave these acts of love, not only did he know he was going to be crucified, he knew that some of them would betray him. He knew that people were still fallible, fickle, human people, and even while knowing that, he loved them. And shared a meal with them. And washed their feet. He knew that he wasn’t going to change everything about their economics or the systems that oppressed them. And yet he knew that the freedom he offered—the resurrection, the love, the new life he pointed to—was beyond that, and right there in it.

He knew that right there in the bread, the wine, the dirty feet and the warm water, there is a freedom beyond their comprehension. Freedom that doesn’t come from dropping bombs or inciting violence, a freedom that isn’t won by building walls or removing “those people” from our community. No, it is the freedom to share a meal, and love and forgive and wash the feet of the very people that may betray you. The freedom to not be afraid. A freedom that comes in the messy, in the confusion, and even to the very death. A freedom in which we participate fully in the revolutionary acts of love and forgiveness. Jesus shows us, gives us, and invites us to participate in this freedom with him, and with each other.

“On the night in which he was betrayed, our Lord Jesus gathered with his faltering friends for a meal that tasted of freedom.” May it be.

#GivingTuesday at the Garden Church

We are committed to feeding people…in mind, body, and spirit. 

On this #GivingTuesday, will you join us in making a difference in the world as we re-imagine church and engage in innovative ways to bring more heaven, here on earth?
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Online fundraising for Seed Money for The Garden Church

Dear Garden Church friends and family!

Part of re-imagining church is re-imagining our funding sources and methods. The way the world works is changing, and the funding for new expressions of church aren’t primarily coming from our institutions any more.

Instead, we have the opportunity to build a community of support made up of individuals who share our passion. We believe there are people all over who want to be part of doing something to make the world a better place—perhaps including you!

We need to raise $2,000 a month for the next year from our Cultivation Team. That’s 200 people giving $10 a month, or 100 giving $20, or 50 people giving $40—you get the idea. Give what amount is right for you, monthly for the next year, and be an essential part of the team that is re-imagining church and bringing more heaven here on earth. (If you’re wondering why the bar graph says more, that’s because razzo counts one-time and monthly gifts as the same. We are recieving and appreciating both! And our overarching goal is $2,000 in monthly pledges).

We are so incredibly grateful for the stories and pledges that have been rolling in from across the world over the past few weeks as people are joining the team.

Today is the last day of our three-week crowd-funding goal. Will you join with others from across the globe to ensure the Garden Church has the support it needs to grow and thrive serve in this start-up season?

With deep gratitude and joy for all that is and for all that is to come,
Anna and the Garden Church team

“With every tree, there’s this incredible network of beauty. There are the limbs, the branches. And we see all of this springing up from the ground. Also, underneath the ground, there is an equally intricate network of roots, of support.  This system that keeps the tree upheld…I decided that I want to be a part of it. I want to be a part of growing something new, growing something beautiful. ”  -Carol Howard Merritt, Author 

Watch Carol share more: 

Join us in this work today! 

Message from Anna | Sunday, Nov. 30th

As we’re coming into the final days/hours of our crowd-funding, a message of thanks and invitation.

http://www.razoo.com/story/The-Garden-Church-Fund

Why Amy Supports the Garden Church


Give and share! http://givingtuesday.razoo.com/story/The-Garden-Church-Fund

“I’m invested in the Garden Church because, the church is changing. I love the church and the future of it matters. And so when people have conversations with me and say, ‘the church is dying’ I can tell them, ‘let me tell you about the Garden Church.  –Rev. Amy Gall Ritchie

 

 

Crowd-funding for the Garden Church is live!


Give and share today! http://givingtuesday.razoo.com/story/The-Garden-Church-Fund

The Garden Church is re-imagining church as we work together, worship together, and eat together.

We’re so excited about the Garden Church, which is being planted in San Pedro, California! And we want you—wherever you live—to be part of it!

We are re-imagining what it means to be church, gathering a group of people together to create a church that is a communal garden, and a communal garden that is church.

Part of re-imagining church is re-imagining our funding sources and methods. The way the world works is changing, and the funding for new expressions of church aren’t primarily coming from our institutions any more.

Instead, we have the opportunity to build a community of support made up of individuals who share our passion. We believe there are people all over who want to be part of doing something to make the world a better place—perhaps including you!

We need to raise $2,000 a month for the next year from our Cultivation Team. That’s 200 people giving $10 a month, or 100 giving $20, or 50 people giving $40—you get the idea. Give what amount is right for you, monthly for the next year, and be an essential part of the team that is re-imagining church and bringing more heaven here on earth.

Be part of our Cultivation Team by praying, pledging, and participating in being church together.

You:
Pray—hold good intentions and energy for the work and being of the Garden Church in whatever way is true to you.

Pledge—to give regularly (monthly is incredibly helpful for our budgeting, but of course we welcome any way that you feel moved to give) during our startup season until we establish local financial abundance.

ParticipateStay connected and participate from afar through engaging in work, worship, and eating in the spirit of the Garden Church in whatever way you are inspired.

We:
Pray—Our community will pray regularly for you.

PledgeWe pledge to share in the experience through monthly newsletters, audio and video sharing of sermons and worship, regular social media posts, and stories of how the Garden Church is growing.

ParticipateWe’ll share stories, ideas, liturgy, lessons learned, inspirations, and whatever else we encounter as we grow. And you are always welcome to come join us in San Pedro and spend some time working, worshiping, and eating together with this community. Because you’re part of the Cultivation Team and there’s a place for you at the Table.

Our goal is to gather this collection of generous pledges by #GivingTuesday (you’ve heard of BlackFriday, CyberMonday, we believe in #GivingTuesday), December 2, 2014. Pledge, celebrate, and spread the invitation!

Give and share today! http://givingtuesday.razoo.com/story/The-Garden-Church-Fund

~Be sure to check the “monthly” reoccurring donation option at check out~

~Your gift to the Garden Church Startup fund is tax deductible through our denominational body, the Pacific Coast Association of the Swedenborgian Church~


A Sermon for the Garden Church

A sermon about Word, the Bible, and how as we want to consciously choose to engage it as a life-giving, rich, deep, wide text that points to loving God and loving our neighbor as we form a community and re-imagine church.

Audio complete with train whistles and the sound of the wind!

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Rev. Anna Woofenden
The Garden Church
San Pedro, CA
10.26.14

Prayer for the Church and the Compost Heap

2013-08-24 23.07.00
O Holy One,
Who stirs over the face of the waters,
Who created at the beginning, the garden,
Who gives us this vision of a heavenly city,
With a garden in the middle of it. 

May we, each individually and collectively,
be present,
with the journey of compost. 

May we be present with the decomposition,
to grieve,
to celebrate,
to let go. 

May we be courageous and active to being fertilizer for the next generations.
May we be purposeful and bold,
making choices not out of survival or comfort,
but from our love for all that is good and true.

And may we be curious, engaged, and on the lookout for new growth.
May we be delightfully surprised, and touched to the core of our heart,
When we see how you, O Holy One, are birthing Your New Church. 

We see a garden ahead of us,
The garden of the New Jerusalem,
with the river that flows through the city,
giving truth and quenching thirst,
to all who seek it.

The trees with leaves that heal the nations.
We see twelve gates,
welcoming all to enter and
come and take the water of life freely.

This garden,
where there is no temple,
where God is the center of the city.
And in this garden,
I do believe,
there probably is a
Compost Heap.
2013-06-09 14.18.18
Read The Compost Heap and the Church