Community

img_0639-editedScripture this week:

Psalm 66:1-9, Genesis 29:20-35 and John 17:1-11

We have been looking at community and thinking through some of the wisdom in Dietrich Bonhoeffer’s book Life Together.

We first considered:

‘Those who love their dream of a Christian community more than the Christian community itself become destroyers of that Christian community even though their personal intentions may be ever so honest, earnest, and sacrificial.’

‘…the Christian community has not been given to us by God for us to be continually taking its temperature. The more thankfully we daily receive what is given to us, the more assuredly and consistently will community increase and grow from day to day as God pleases.’

‘Christian community is not an ideal we have to realize, but rather a reality created by God in Christ in which we may participate. The more clearly we learn to recognize that the ground and strength and promise of all our community is in Jesus Christ alone, the more calmly we will learn to think about our community and pray and hope for it.’

‘Self-centred love loves the other for the sake of itself; spiritual love loves the other for the sake of Christ.’

How might an experience of disillusionment with the Christian community actually be an important and needed crisis?

Seeing yourself as the voice of God for others rather than the one receiving the word was considered by Bonhoeffer as one of the worst sins committed when reading scripture together as a community.

What would you identify as the worst sin one can commit while reading Scripture together?

Moving on we looked at how our meeting together might develop; we are reading scripture together, listening to one another and praying for one another. What more might we be?

“All singing together that is right must serve to widen our spiritual horizon, make us see our little company as a member of the great Christian Church on earth, and help us willingly and gladly to join our singing, be it feeble or good, to the song of the Church.” 

Our wisdom was that just as we pray the Lord’s Prayer together, that singing also gives us an opportunity to listen and learn from the Spirit. If we do not want to speak might we want to sing?

 ‘…eternal bread before temporal bread’.

Bonhoeffer identifies in Scripture three kinds of table fellowship: daily fellowship at meals, the table fellowship of the Lords Supper and final table fellowship of the Kingdom of God. Meals become as important as prayer, we see them as the blessing of God.

We are beginning to explore table fellowship, as well as singing, and this week sing:

Our discussion will be around this quote:

“The Christian, however, must bear the burden of a brother. He must suffer and endure the brother. It is only when he is a burden that another person is really a brother and not merely an object to be manipulated. The burden of men was so heavy for God Himself that He had to endure the Cross. God verily bore the burden of men in the body of Jesus Christ. But He bore them as a mother carries her child, as a shepherd enfolds the lost lamb that has been found. God took men upon Himself and they weighted Him to the ground, but God remained with them and they with God. In bearing with men God maintained fellowship with them. It was the law of Christ that was fulfilled in the Cross. And Christians must share in this law.”

And the question?

Comments from our recent meetings have included

Today we read some passages from The Psalms, from the Old Testament and from the New Testament. We had a lively discussion as we sought to understand how these ancient scriptures are relevant to our lives today. We saw how God’s cares about and for people that society rejects or counts as nothing. We realise that God’s Community is based on His acceptance of us and His love for us – it’s what makes us special.

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