Community - Life Together
Personal communion with God creates growing community with one another.
Gathering to pray, and gathering to read, understand, and apply God’s Word together is a vital practice that strengthens our community.
Meeting one another’s daily needs with compassion & sacrificial love is a community responsibility.
Parties and feasting also provide important opportunities for us to enjoy life together.
Further Thoughts on Community
“Community” is a buzz word that is so ubiquitous, it can slide through our ears without substantial meaning.
Christian community should be unique. Often it is perceived and experienced as uniquely disappointing – a place of hypocrisy and ideological/moral oppression. God’s people often deserve the accusations of failure that they receive.
However, the question remains: is there anything uniquely good and beautiful about Christian community? Christian community is not unique because of how Christians behave or talk; or even because of what Christians believe.
What sets Christian community apart from other human relations? What makes the work of participating in the joys and struggles of growing a young church worth your consideration?
Dietrich Bonhoeffer wrote a response to such questions in Life Together:
Christian brotherhood is not an ideal which we must realize; it is rather a reality created by God in Christ in which we participate. The more clearly we learn to recognize that the ground and strength and promise of all our fellowship is in Jesus Christ alone, the more serenely shall we think of our fellowship and pray and hope for it…
Because Christ has long since acted decisively for my brother, before I could begin to act, I must leave him his freedom to be Christ’s; I must meet him only as the person that he already is in Christ’s eyes.
Christian community is a reality rooted in God. It is a reality because of God’s proven grace – Jesus has redeemed God the Father’s children in His cross and resurrection. Christian community is a reality because of who Jesus is now – the faithful King who gathers and protects his brothers. And it is a reality because of God’s future promise – sin and death will be forever stricken from this broken world when Jesus returns.
Christian community – i.e. ‘the church' – is unique because God has created it. Christians are knit together by the love of the Father, the grace of the Son, and the present power of the Holy Spirit. “Community’ is not made proven by our experience or maintained by our efforts. By faith we are seeking to live out that which in fact we already are by God’s mysterious grace!
Life together under the Word will remain sound and healthy only where it does not form itself into a movement, an order, a society, a collegium pietatis, but rather where it understands itself as being a part of the one, holy, catholic, Christian Church, where it shares actively and passively in the sufferings and struggles and promise of the whole Church. It is not the experience of Christian brotherhood, but solid and certain faith in brotherhood [in Christ], that holds us together.