Home > Sabbath Rhythms
When the Church gathers, it is not to consume a religious product. We are not called to the high art of sacred theater, where we sit by as spectators while worship is served up to us, hot and tasty. When God's community gathers, we are entering an experience, we are coming together to speak to and hear from and bow before our God. These experiences are important to us because we care deeply about the Gospel, the message that God has come to us in Jesus and invites all of us into the story. If you are in the place of just wanting to explore the possibilities of faith, this experience is for you, too. Feel it. Taste it. Wonder if the stories told and the faith embraced might be true. What follows is intended to give instruction and context to the Sabbath rhythms of CrossWalk, the ways we all—regardless of where we are on the spiritual path—are able to encounter Jesus and his story.
For much of the history of the church, the gathering around the Lord's Table (also known as the act of Holy Communion, the Lord's Supper and the Eucharist) was a central moment in public acts of worship. This practice reflects the picture in Acts of the early church where gathering around the Lord's Table as a community was held equally as important as acts of teaching Scripture, participating in prayer and sharing life with one another.
Communion is both a symbol and a story. It is both something pictured and something experienced. Communion allows us to remember and experience the reality of Jesus Christ, the one who died and rose again and now is among us offering grace. Coming to the Lord's Table, receiving bread and wine, is a way we taste grace.
Communion is a time to reflect, remember and repent. But it is not always solemn. Communion is a time to rejoice, to receive grace, to be forgiven. The picture God has given us is his table. The setting is a feast. There is dancing. There is laughter. There is friendship. There is hope. There is God.
Passing of the Peace
Some of Jesus' more frequent words were: "Peace be with you." Jesus calmed storms, offered hope to the oppressed, promised forgiveness, and calmed the hearts of the fearful. In all this, Jesus was giving peace. However, life in our world is often far from peaceful and Jesus continues to offer—through his words and his presence and then the words and presence of those who follow him—peace. So, in the same way the apostle Paul offered peace to the recipients of his letters, when we gather on Sabbath we recognize Jesus is among us by offering peace to each through each of us—our voice and our touch enact the peace-giving voice and touch of Jesus.
As a Jesus-centered community, we provide space for this Jesus-like act of peace passing each Saturday. We turn to one another, to one we might know well or to one we might be meeting for the first time. We give a handshake or a hug and we say something like, “Peace to you” or “Peace of Jesus to you.” This is more than a greeting, more than a "say 'hi' to your neighbor" time. This is when we recognize we are a community of disciples who participates in the life and peace Jesus offers.
Participating in this act is uncomfortable at first. It can feel strange and weird. If you are unsure of what you make of Jesus and are uneasy with this act, there is no need to feel put on the spot. Simply receive the words offered to you. There is no need for you to feel pressure to say anything in return. Merely receive them as a gift. This is how Jesus offers his peace-- free with no strings attached.
Through the stories, poetry, history, wisdom, and prophetic words of Scripture God is revealed. Scripture offers us instruction and mercy. It provides us with wisdom and correction. However, the Bible is not a textbook or manual. It is a place where God’s words are breathed into us. At CrossWalk, we place a high priority on sitting under the teaching of God. We wrestle with what God says. We seek to understand the implications of what God says. We wonder if we are correctly hearing what God says. Yet, in all this, we are acting in faith. God has spoken. Our Sabbath teaching strives to faithfully engage and journey into the things God has spoken. We desire to let Scripture speak for itself, attempting to minimize the way we impose our presuppositions or world-view or politics or felt-needs onto God. We desire to let him speak. And we pray we will have the courage to follow.
Generosity is a way of life Jesus calls us to. We are called to give our life, our passions, our hearts, and yes, our money. Part of the early church's weekly communal experience was the act of each one giving as they were able to support the mission God had called them to. Giving is no more a duty than participating in music as worship or communion as worship or prayer as worship. It is also no less important. The wisdom writers of Scripture—as well as our own experience—indicate that we use our financial resources for those things we value and believe in. Giving is a way of speaking against the consumerism and greed of our culture; and in its place signaling that we deeply value God and the community he has placed us in. If you are a guest of CrossWalk, we ask you not to give. We ask you to receive all that happens as a gift. However, if CrossWalk is part of your life, your community, then we ask you to consider how the call of God and the call to worship would influence your use of your financial resources.
Music is common in most every tradition of public worship. Music speaks the language of our soul and puts our feelings into words. The Hebrew culture in which Jesus lived was a culture of poets and musicians. Perhaps the best known book of the Bible, Psalms, is a collection of poems and songs that God's people have used over the centuries in worship. The music at CrossWalk attempts to provide our heart a voice. Through music, we sing of God's character, we sing of our need, we repent, we ask God to move on our behalf and we simply celebrate that God IS—and that we are his people.
Music—as all art forms do—reflects the reality that we are artists, formed in the image of a creative God who loves diversity and beauty. Embracing this truth, our musical expressions are eclectic and diverse, ranging from 16th century hymns to original scores, from old gospel to acoustic and rock. In it all, however, we hope to see God, not merely the art of music.
Prayer is conversation, and conversing with God is central to the life of following Jesus. St. Benedict called prayer "the work of God," reflecting the reality that God is the one first at work in prayer—we are merely joining the conversation, responding to God's invitation to engage in God-work. Prayer is often portrayed in Scripture as a communal act. The Psalms were the prayer book of the early church where, together, they would sing and speak their hopes and their repentance and their passions to God. We pray together in many ways at CrossWalk. Sometimes there is a prayer space offered. Sometimes we provide moments of silence for personal prayer. Sometimes we enter a posture that reflects our prayer. We believe God is present and God is listening. So, we pray.
CrossWalk is hard to define, as should be any group who gathers together to live out the story of Christ in a messy world. We are people—real people with defects and bruises and joys and dreams. Most of us have staked our hopes on Jesus—believing that our life only makes sense in the context of who he is and what he is doing in our world. Some of us are uncertain about our spiritual journey, and we are just warming up to the fire, checking out the surroundings, and taking the space provided to see if this carpenter who claimed to be God might be for real.
We do not view the church as nirvana, where perfection rules. Rather, it is a community where we all admit our brokenness and our desperate need. We believe we were created for intimate connections, deep relationships, and profound spiritual experiences. In short, we were created for heaven. Our longings and desires yearn for something more. It all points us to something beyond ourselves.
As C.S. Lewis said, “If I find in myself a desire which no experience in this world can satisfy, the most probable explanation is that I was made for another world.”
And so, at our core, we are a people living for another world. This does not mean we withdraw from the culture around us. Quite the opposite, we believe that the reality of the other world means the brokenness of this world can be redeemed. We believe the community of God should encourage the brightest thinkers, the most vivid artists, and the most industrious employees. The mission of God's people is to see the connection between heaven to earth by living out the answer to Christ's prayer, "God's will be done, on earth as it is in heaven."
This makes sense to us because our lives are not ordered around small dreams and trivial hopes. Our lives are centered on God. And through each of us is a story waiting to be told. We believe the stories of everyone in our community have value. We believe listening to each other is an act of love. We believe each of our stories will inspire us in the same way the stories from scripture do. This is why we often share someone’s story during our worship experience. We invite you to share your story.