This is my command: Love one another the way I loved you. This is the very best way to love. Put your life on the line for your friends. John 15:12-13 MSG
When we live life in community, we soon learn that loving the way Jesus loves is not a simple calling. Dietrich Bonhoeffer discovered the gift of community, but not in the church as we think of it. He learned the gift and the challenge of Christian community when he was imprisoned by the regime of Adolph Hitler. Bonhoeffer noted, “The person who loves their dream of community will destroy community, but the person who loves those around them will create community.”
In his book, the Jesus Way, Eugene Peterson frames the New Commandment in this way.
A Christian congregation is a company of praying men and women who gather, usually on Sundays, for worship, who then go into the world as salt and light. God’s Holy Spirit calls and forms this people. God means to do something with us, and he means to do it in community. We are in on what God is doing, and we are in on it together. And here is how we are in on it: We become present to what God intends to do with and for us through worship, become present to the God who is present to us. The operating biblical metaphor regarding worship is sacrifice – We bring ourselves to the altar and let God do with us what he will. We bring ourselves to the eucharistic table and enter into that grand fourfold shape of the liturgy that shapes us: Taking … Blessing … Breaking … and… Giving the life of Jesus, taken and blessed, broken, and distributed. … Christ IN us, to be taken, blessed, broken, and distributed in lives of witness and service, justice and healing.
Jesus said: “By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.” John13:35. Thus, as George Woodruff declares: “The test of Christianity is not loving Jesus, it’s loving Judas.”
Blessings & Peace,