Originally Posted: Wednesday, August 31, 2005
Mood: hug me
Now Playing: Silence
Topic: Living in the Epic Story
Living Reminder, The – Reissue : Service and Prayer in Memory of Jesus Christ
By Henri J. M. Nouwen
We are called to community. That is the point. As followers of Christ. Not religious people. If we do not love the body of Christ I must wonder if we, therefore, do not love Christ Himself. With this in mind what are we called to by community. We’ll, look at Acts 2:42. That’s right…big surprise. “They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer.”
- We are called to submission to leaders and discipleship. “They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching“. I am not saying that leaders in church today are the same as the apostles (who spent one on one time with Jesus), but I am saying that in the midst of their imperfections they are put in a place of authority over others because God placed them there whether we like it or not, and we want to be the best followers to those who lead us to make their job easier and be a blessing to them. So if we don’t do what we learned in kindergarten and follow the leader, then we are being rebellious. As I heard someone say one time: If God is the ultimate authority, then Satan is the ultimate rebel. Therefore, if we are being rebellious then we are showing the character of Satan not God. So make an effort (and sometimes it does take an effort) to submit to those who are in authority over you and relinquish your own will.
- “They devoted themselves…to the fellowship,” We are called to live in community with people in a radical way. We must be devoted to each other. Regardless of how we are hurt. Yes, there are valid hurts and people aren’t perfect but we must learn to forgive as Jesus did. Jesus said “Forgive or you will not be forgiven.” We must learn to forgive those who offend us because we want to be forgiven. It’s hard, and you hurt each other in community. Because others aren’t perfect and neither are you. My community will never be perfect because I’m in it, and likewise with you. However, we must learn give up our rights in relationships.(Since in reality we don’t have them anyway because we’re dead men. Since Jesus said that in order to follow Him we must take up our cross: a death instrument. Since part of Galatians 2:20 says that “I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live but Christ lives in me.”) We are dead men have no rights. May we get to a place were we are committed to each other and God over our own rights. May we get to a place where we don’t try to hold onto the rights that we don’t have anymore.
- “to the breaking of bread” We are called to live life together. Not just a once a week meeting or a bible study where we don’t see each other the rest of the week. No!!! Your church should be the people who you live your life with. That is how it was in the beginning when Jesus set it up. Why not now? Daddy, let us all get to a place where we live out radical community in a way that is different than this world.
- “and to prayer.” Finally, or actually first. We are called to prayer. We are called to prayer before all else. Prayer is the centerpiece of following Christ. It is what brings us into his presence more than anything else. The center of healthy community is prayer. This means God centered community. We must learn to love solitude more than community. I say this because when I say solitude, I don’t mean being alone. I mean cultivating an inner solitude where you are OK alone and OK with people because you are always with God and therefore never alone. We must learn to be ourselves with God before we can be ourselves with people. Many times that does mean being alone but being alone doesn’t always mean solitude if your thoughts are everywhere and you are not centered on God. Solitude is time well spent with God. When we do this and our prayer life is formed out of constant solitude, that is when our life becomes our prayer. That is when we can be still and know God so that God is exalted. That is when we are secure and content regardless of what happens around us. That is when we walk away from conversations and people know that we have met with God. May we all press on toward this with the grace that God has given us. My prayers are with you all and know above everything that you are loved by God.