People of Love: Week 3 | Day 1
As Christians, we belong to God and to one another. In the second “Mark of Love” we are called to help nurture God’s love within one another. As Br. David Vryhof explains in this introduction to the third week of the series, community is a necessity of Christian life because we are people of love who are called to encourage one another in this new life.
Transcript: In our baptisms, we are “sealed by the Holy Spirit and marked as Christ’s own forever.” We belong to God. And we belong to God not only as individuals but as a collective body. Christianity is a communal religion. We are joined in baptism to other believers in the Body of Christ. We belong to one another as well. And in this Body, we have the function of supporting and helping one another, nurturing God’s life within each individual member.
So this week we’ll be focusing on the Second Mark of Love, or the Second Mark of Mission, which is “to teach, to baptize, and to nurture new believers.” And in a sense, it’s not just new believers, but all of us believers, who are stepping into this new way of life and who need teaching and encouragement along the way.
The life of God within us is a life to be learned, and to nurture, and to grow. We learn from one another a different way of living in the world. We help one another understand the different values of life in the Kingdom. We help one another embrace Jesus’ love and life within us and to participate with one another’s support and encouragement in the mission of God in the world.
So community is never an option for a Christian, or just an alternative that we can choose or not choose. It’s a necessity for Christian life. And it is an important part of the church’s witness and work in the world to nurture, and to teach, and to grow believers. This has been true from the very beginning. Jesus gathered around him a community of disciples and these disciples formed communities of early believers who lived out the message in the world, and who demonstrated the life of God, and the ways of the Kingdom, in the way that they related to one another, in the way that they treated one another and treated others, in the way that they expressed their love for God and for one another. We are a people of love who have been born from love and are called to live in love. And to live in love means to live in unity and peace with one another.
And so in this Second Mark of Mission, we encourage one another in this new life. We build up one another. We help one another to move deeper into the reality of living in God’s Kingdom. We are looking forward to sharing with you some of our ideas and to encourage you to think and meditate on your own participation in the collective life of God’s people, the Church.
– Br. David Vryhof
This activity invites you to explore the Baptismal Covenant in prayer and reflection during your day and throughout the week. Each morning, write a short prayer based on that day’s question from the Baptismal Covenant. Each evening, reflect on how you are living into this aspect of your faith.
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I think the important thing is the nature of the community to which I belong…..how does it behave communally and do I feel welcomed and embraced? I have experienced cliquishness within a Church community; my partner’s mother was shunned and not helped because she had left her abusive husband. For reasons such as these we abandonned organised religion for many years. She will never return; I have, but I do so to listen to the message of our Pastor and reflect and pray. Before services, I find the sanctuary noisy and full of gossip….some of which I overhear and find quite unchristian. A few folk have reached out to me and I to them in good and enjoyable ways, but I remain wary of the Church as an instutition.Too many Churches have gone to war with eachother over beliefs and practises. It took a long time (69 years) before I was ready to paticipate in Mass……I gained great strength and insight from AA meetings. I now go only occasionally when I need to draw on that well…sharing experiences and trusting in a higher Spiritual Power which for me is now God but it does not lessen others who see that power as Nature, Manitou, Sea, Wind, Allah………… perhaps showing through my reflection is my own selfishness and reluctant nature to accept and let go….I must work on this.