Saturday, January 20, 2007

Live In Spiritual Community

Unless you do, you really won't get much done, at least of any value.

The blessings that flow from unity in spiritual community as expressed in Ephesians 4 are gifts of faith, trust, commitment and grace and they come only from God.

As Robert Suderman writes in Faith Today, "It is profoundly comforting to know that what we long for most is not ours to give but ours to accept....Our task is not to create unity but to 'maintain' the unity that comes from God. Our differences will not destroy the unity that God generates in the church."

Go ahead, trust God and embrace spiritual community.

Ephesians 4:15-16
Instead, we will speak the truth in love, growing in every way more and more like Christ, who is the head of his body, the church. He makes the whole body fit together perfectly. As each part does its own special work, it helps the other parts grow, so that the whole body is healthy and growing and full of love.

The word community has many connotations, some positive, some negative. Community can make us think of a safe togetherness, shared meals, common goals, and joyful celebrations. It also can call forth images of sectarian exclusivity, in-group language, self-satisfied isolation, and romantic naiveté. However, community is first of all a quality of the heart. It grows from the spiritual knowledge that we are alive not for ourselves but for one another.

Community is the fruit of our capacity to make the interests of others more important than our own (see Philippians 2:4). The question, therefore, is not "How can we make community?" but "How can we develop and nurture giving hearts?" Henri Nouwen


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