Friday, May 9, 2008

A snippit of Disciple History..

DISCIPLES NEWS SERVICE: In 1807 Thomas Campbell had immigrated to America. He left his eldest son, Alexander, in charge of the rest of the family and all their belongings. Once Thomas was settled, the family was to follow the next year.
And that is just what they attempted to do. In 1808, Alexander, all the Campbell family, and all their 'stuff' boarded a ship bound for the land of freedom. The journey lasted only ten days before the ship, caught in a storm, ran into the rocky coast off Scotland and wrecked. Alexander fished his family, his books, and himself out of the cold salty water and made his way to shore.
But, what at first seemed like a set-back was another of God's blessings in disguise. Since winter was setting in, it was now impossible for the Campbells to make the trek to America. Instead, they spent about one year in Scotland where Alexander was able to continue his education (entering the University of Glasgow) and to continue his personal pilgrimage of faith.
He had been started well on his theological journey by tutelage from his father Thomas. Now, he had the opportunity to intensely study the scriptures and to inquire of the great minds of history, and the University, on exactly how to interpret what God intended for us to hear in the sacred pages.
Interestingly, 1809 proved a banner year for both Thomas and Alexander. Separated by an ocean, the two were knitted together in thought and revelation. Thomas would pen his "Declaration and Address," showing that Christ's Church is a unified whole and realize he was reaching the end of his walk with Presbyterians. Alexander, among other things, would discover that he, too, had come to the end of his journey among Presbyterians.

In those days, on Sundays when Presbyterians were to celebrate communion (for it was not an every Sunday event), each communicant was examined by an elder to make sure that he or she was sinless enough to receive the meal from Christ's table. Once the elder was satisfied, a little silver token was given that could be exchanged for the elements during the Lord's Supper.
On that Sunday in 1809, in Glasgow, 21 year old Alexander Campbell was absolutely sure that God did not require that little token. So, he came to the table, dropped the silver piece down, and turned and walked away. In that moment, he abandoned one faith journey in order to start another. The journey of a Disciple. It was a journey he remained on for the rest of his life. And a journey that we are on still.

ME: I just got this in today.. I thought it would be cool to share this snippit of my church's history with you. No doubt, it took great bravery to step away in that moment. To make that decision and express it in such a way at a place that is so treasured by our church today. The table... which is open to all believers. I know we are not the only open table... but it is the centerpiece of our worship every week. It is a joy to celebrate it each week. Not doubt the story above is an igniting spark of what would become the Stone-Campbell movement. The origin of our church (and others).

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