While it is impossible to get the true gist of a church in a few paragraphs, we hope to explain a little here about what makes Cana the church that it is.
Cana is committed to loving God and loving others.
We want to be people who love. Not in some theoretical or emotional way do we strive to love, but with action, self giving, hard work and much sacrifice.
Our teaching and studying is wholly concerned with examining the scripture in light of this commandment. We believe Christ when He said: “On these two commandments depend the whole Law and the Prophets”, (Matthew 22:40). Therefore we expect to find the Who, what, when, where and why of this throughout the Bible. In fact, we believe the Bible is designed through God’s inspiration to reveal this universal truth. It is our belief that God created us for this, sent His son Jesus to teach us this and to lay down His life to free us to this, and gave us his Holy Spirit to enable us for this.
Our conversations are designed to further our understanding of this command to love one another. We are engaged in an ongoing dialogue through which we encourage, inspire, and challenge one and all to love the other. And this other is everyone. Certainly the other is the oppressed and marginalized of our greater world. The other is also the poor and outcaste within our own society. But ultimately the other is anyone who is our neighbor at any given moment. Often the most pressing need of love today is in the form of forgiveness, understanding and acceptance that so many crave, yet so many are denied.
“We want to be people who love. Not in some theoretical or emotional way do we strive to love, but with action, self giving, hard work and much sacrifice.”
Our actions are based on the firm conviction that Christ loved and so should we. “By this all men will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another” (John 13:35). Here at Cana Community we want to be known in this way. Of course we do fail at times but remain committed to the overriding belief that authentic human being loves.
Cana brings together the old and new.
We have discovered that many people grow weary of the Christian tradition they were raised in but not of God. Unfortunately in abandoning their own heritage, they often cannot find another tradition to be comfortable in and so they relinquish involvement in church altogether. Often this is a result of such extreme cultural swings from one church to another. This is not to diminish that, as these radically different cultures work well for the loyal participants and exist for a reason.
But at Cana Community we borrow from many Christian traditions because we believe the familiar together with the unusual creates an environment that allows persons from many different backgrounds to feel at home in our community. This is especially true of our main worship service. It is a time when the liturgy and customs of the old (orthodox/traditional) blend with the music and spirit of the new (non- denominational/evangelical) in such a way that persons from any branch of Christianity would all at once be comfortable with what they recognize and be gently challenged by what is new.
Cana yearns to stay away from doctrinal divisiveness that has always plagued churches.
One of the most common ways people tend to define a church community is through the doctrines they profess. Then this definition is used to judge one particular church over and against another. It is in this way that through the centuries Christianity has become a much divided religion. Naturally, this is not to say that all division is blatantly deconstructive. Christ’s own metaphor of the Kingdom of God being like a large tree in which all the birds of the air come to nest may have been a haunting but tender prophecy of this very present reality. Division may not be the Divine ideal, but certainly it has not left a too small tree.
Still, at Cana Community we are a community of believers who want to remain, as much as humanly possible, removed from this doctrinal divisiveness. We are happy to be a part of the grand tree that is Christianity but do not want to try to establish our own branch, or graft onto one that already exists. We are too much of a hybrid anyway; borrowing from so many branches that strict definition eludes us. We would rather cling to the Christ and His purposes than to try to be another voice in the already crowded debate over doctrine.
“We are a community of believers who want to remain, as much as humanly possible, removed from this doctrinal divisiveness.”
Of course, we are thankful for the debate. It has been going on for two thousand years and has resulted in giving the Christian faith some very much needed guidance. The men and women who have been responsible for refining doctrine have been invaluable to the journeys of countless pilgrims. Our thanks for them, and respect of them, will not diminish. But we at Cana Community are called as a group of followers of Christ to a different mission.
Cana breaks bread together each week.
On the last night that Jesus sat at table He shared a meal with His disciples. And then, “He took some bread, gave thanks, He broke it, and gave it to them saying, ‘This is My body which is given for you; do this in remembrance of me.’ And in the same way He took the cup, saying, ‘This cup which is poured out for you is the new covenant in my blood.’
At Cana Community we want to honor this teaching of the Christ to break bread and share wine. This table is known by many names: The Lord’s Supper, Communion, The Eucharist, etc. We like Eucharist because it simply means “Thanksgiving” and it is at this table that we are reminded of why we are most thankful: Christ’s willing sacrifice of self that we might have life and, as He said, have it “more abundantly”.
By making The Eucharist central to our worship service, we believe we are accomplishing many important things. First, we are following His example and there is no greater example for human being than that of Jesus. Second, we are glorifying God by celebrating on a regular basis His great love for us. Third, by sitting at table every week, we have an opportunity to remember how much we need His Grace, rely on His forgiveness, and enter reality through His love. And fourth, it is a constant opportunity to seek God’s Mercy and be cleansed of our failures to live into the kingdom.
Cana is community driven and community led.
While we recognize the value of the top down leadership model, we subscribe to a broader model where we all lead and we all follow. We are all disciples of Christ, or would be disciples, or just curious observers who want to walk side by side on this earthly pilgrimage. We all have strengths and weaknesses, wisdom and foolishness, confidences and uncertainty. Each one has something profound to offer the community and we encourage such sharing. There is no one particular “answer man” here. If you need, come and take. If you have, come and give.
Naturally, this is an extremely challenging model. However, we seek to be constantly aware of our own personal need for Grace which inspires us to extend grace to others. It is in this prayerful spirit of meekness, patience and humility that we believe this model of community can and does work.