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Living The Bible In Community

I think and have experienced in the new wave and post- modern too often we (note I said we) experience faith in a solitary way. We rarely think of it in terms of “us” and “our,” and frequently see it as “me” and “my.” But we can’t mistake these Western, individualistic values for biblical values. The Bible is clear that living in community with other believers is irreplaceable in the Christian life.

The early church worshiped and lived communally. The Bible provides a detailed snapshot of what the church looked like at the beginning: “They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer. Everyone was filled with awe at the many wonders and signs performed by the apostles. All the believers were together and had everything in common. They sold property and possessions to give to anyone who had need. Every day they continued to meet together in the temple courts. They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts, praising God and enjoying the favor of all the people. And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved” (Acts 2:42-47).

First Corinthians 12 says that we’re all interconnected as the body of Christ, and so it’s not possible to be free-standing, isolated entities. It’s not possible to survive without each other. The bad news is that living in community requires sacrifice. The good news is that we can survive and thrive in community. The great news is that we have permission to be ourselves within community. We’re uniquely placed. Our role is irreplaceable and our value immeasurable. A good many of the troubles that arise in community seem to come from our brokenness and insecurity, and so much of this happens because we ultimately think we’re on our own and that we can survive that way. We can’t. When the body works together, there is enormous power to heal, restore, and renew what was sick and dying.

Once we understand with clarity that community is vital to our spiritual survival, we can begin to celebrate the beauty of how God has woven us together as one body and how important we are to each other’s survival. Together we can participate in the abundant life scripture describes; apart from each other we cannot. The Bible gives us our orientation to God and the baseline for living in community. It challenges our motivations and gives us the deep wisdom it takes to function as the body of Christ.

Christ is living in and through us (John 14:20; 17:23; Galatians 2:20; Colossians 1:27), and we, in community, are the hands and feet of Jesus in this world. As such we are commissioned and commanded to do the work of heaven on earth, and together, we have the incredible privilege of being participants in his kingdom coming and his will being done on earth as it is in heaven. This is how God has chosen to get his work in this world done.

What would happen to the world if we actually believed this? What would happen to the body of Christ if we believed it?



Community & Life




SHARING
Sharing means communicating freely about God and about life experiences and reflecting on these in the light of scripture and tradition.  An attitude of trust must be developed in order to enable sharing.
 

 





MUTUAL SUPPORT
In a society in which Gospel values are all to frequently ridiculed and rejected, the believer needs a community which is supportive of these values.  The Small Christian Community encourages fidelity to the Gospel and also challenges itself and its members to a more profound and authentic commitment to Christian living.
 

 





CONNECTION
Worldwide the Church celebrates
its faith in unison.  This is the result of
the direct connection from God the Holy Spirit 
 

 
Word (Learning)


Because Small Christian Communities are part of the wider Church, they are called to an ever fuller knowledge and understanding of the Gospel, of the Church and its teaching on faith and morals, and of the relationship off the teaching to the circumstances and issues of there lives.  Commitment to leaning acknowledges that the Christian is a seeker after truth and awakens the learner to the reality that one can never exhaust all there is to discover of the wonders of God, life and the universe.

 

Worship (Prayer)



The element of prayer emphasized the centrality of God’s presence in each Small Christian Community member’s life and in the life of the community itself.  As people open their hearts in prayer, they seek deeper relationships with God and others.

 

Service (Mission, Outreach)



Authentic Christian communities are, like Jesus, committed to a life of loving mission or service.  As a group and through its individual members, the community will work for compassion, justice, reconciliation and peace within the group, in the family, in the workplace, in the neighborhood and in the wider society. The purpose of forming a Small Christian Community is to help people live more like Christ.  Mission provides a way for people to respond to their desire to make the world a better place.
 

 

Credit:  "Resources for a Small Christian Communitiy" by Thomas A Kleissler, Margo A. LeBert, Mary C. McGinness.  Paulist Press NY/Mahwah NJ, 1991.  Permission to reproduce was granted in the publication.

WilliamC WilliamC 61-65, M 2 Responses Sep 1, 2012

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amen great post

i learned all that the hard way... still learning