Thursday, March 20, 2008

Love Feast

When the Brethren gather this evening for Love Feast in their various church buildings, it will be a meaningful worship service they have continued since the beginning of their history.

Ken Shaffer, writes in Let Our Joys Be Known - A Brethren Heritage Curriculum for Adults: Perhaps the love feast Brethren worship at its best. Historically the love feast was preceded by a deacon visit to every member. The purpose of the visit was to see if members were still faithful to their baptismal vows and at peace with other members. Today the love feast typically begins with a period of self-examination. Then feetwashing recalls both the forgiveness (cleansing) represented by baptism and the need for Christians to follow the servant role of Jesus.

After feetwashing, members partake of the Lord's supper, a fellowship meal based on the practice of the early church. Finally, the bread and cup communion remind the participants of Jesus' sacrifice of himself for all humanity.

According to William Beahm, a former missionary and seminary professor, the love feast is the "interrelationship between our religious experience and our social relations, between the power of God and our human needs."

Source: Let Our Joys Be Known, Richard B. Gardner and Kenneth M Shaffer