Community of Love

The Church is made of individuals. The Church is the Body of Christ. The Church is a community. We are the people who are the Body of Christ in community whose purpose it is to give into the commonwealth of that church. John testifies to this in the final discourse of Jesus Christ at the festival of the unleavened bread, during His last meal with the disciples. In chapter 13 and verse 34, Jesus tells the disciples, “A new commandment I give to you, that you shall be loving one another just as I loved you, that you also shall be loving one another.” ALT You shall be loving one another. The Analytical-Literal Translation puts emphasis on the future actions of love of all disciples and that love is Agape, the quality of love that Christ claimed the Father has for all humanity. As they were told then to love and to keep on loving, that kind and quality of love reaches to the end of time, and encompasses our lives, as well.
Love is the foundation of our commonwealth as a community. Love is a spiritual substance that holds us together as believers in the body of our Lord. I tend to think of God’s love in simple terms. His love is a “force field” that is under us, beside us, all around us, and inside of us. Once only transcendent, (meaning something that is unobtainable by natural means), with the coming of the Spirit of God into the church at Pentecost God’s love now abides in us and with us. Why is it not so apparent in many communities then?
First, I think that people block the flow of God’s love because of bitter hearts. The writer of the book of Hebrews states: “roots of bitterness spring up out of you, spoiling the minds and hearts of many others…” Hebrews 12:15 (My Paraphrase) Some people and some societies as well hang on to the past wrongs committed against them by others, not forgiving others. Out of those hang-ups come discord, and out of the lack of harmony comes disputes and arguments, or mistreatment of others. Certainly, bitterness in any heart can ruin one’s own life and defile the quality of community life. “Forgive and you shall receive forgiveness.” Mt 11:25, Lu 17:4, Eph 4:32, Col 3:13   True Agape, then, is a choice.
In addition to blocking the Love of God from flowing in our lives, I think folks tend to be complacent. People like their own comfort zones and do not want to come out of them, and society is fast paced these days. No wonder people want to retreat to their own places of personal comfort. They are so busy every single day with the pressures of modernity and social status. To come out of those places of complacency requires personal sacrifice. David said this: “I will make no sacrifice (to God) that costs me nothing.” II Samuel 24:24 We live in fast-paced, self-absorbed world, a cosmos in which many people are selfish. Folks do not sacrifice their time to make room for others. People hang on to riches instead of sharing. Political partisans want policies that cut programs for the poor and needy. One society will turn heads at the discomfort of another people. Historical revisionists wish to deny the atrocities during WWII. On and on we go, where it stops, does anyone know?
Yes. The Christ of Agape reveals truth every day through His body, the church, the community of believers. If you and I stop each day long enough, we will hear the call of our Lord and the command to Love. He will show us the little things we each can do to add to the commonwealth we belong to. “And they will know you are my disciples by your love for one-another.” John 13:35 MP People who come to that knowledge will be those around us who are touched by that love. For a moment and possibly a lifetime, their attention being drawn away from the discord of the world to the center of God’s love, they join with us, the inclusive body of Christ, the community of God’s love, that just happens to be made up of unique individuals.

Peace to you all,

Your Brother in Christ, Timothy     

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About Friar Timothy, Franciscan Urban Mission, INC.

Disciple of Jesus Christ with a Progressive Message, Author, Franciscan Friar, Musician, Social Activist, and Urban Missionary View all posts by Friar Timothy, Franciscan Urban Mission, INC.

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