It is impossible for man in isolation from his fellows, to show forth the image of God in the fullest sense. He must have communion with other men, in the family, in the society, and ultimately in the Church, if he is to glorify the Triune God Who is in Himself a holy community of love and fellowship.–Steve Wilkins
The mission of the Church is to be understood, can only be rightly understood, in terms of the trinitarian model. It is the Father who holds all things in his hand, whose providence upholds all things, whose tender mercies are over all his works, where he is acknowledged and where he is denied, and who has never left himself without witness to the heart and conscience and reason of any human being. In the incarnation of the Son he made known his nature and purpose fully and completely, for in Jesus “all the fullness of God was pleased to dwell” (Col. 1:19). But this presence was a veiled presence in order that there might be the possibility of repentance and freely given faith. In the Church the mission of Jesus is continued in the same veiled form. It is continued through the presence and active working of the Holy Spirit, who is the presence of the reign of God in foretaste. The mission of the Church to all nations, to all human communities in all their diversity and in all their particularity, is itself the mighty work of God, the sign of the inbreaking of the kingdom. The Church is not so much the agent of the mission as the locus of the mission. It is God who acts in the power of his Spirit, doing might works, creating signs of a new age, working secretly in the hearts of men and women to draw them to Christ. When they are so drawn, they become part of a community which claims no masterful control of history, but continues to bear witness to the real meaning and goal of history by a life which – in Paul’s words – by always bearing about in the body the dying of Jesus becomes the place where the risen life of Jesus is made available for others (2 Cor. 4:10).
Lesslie Newbigin, The Gospel in a Pluralistic Society, p. 118.
Derek Webb, on the CD The House Show talks about community and the gospel as he introduces the song Nobody Loves Me. He talks about the risk that we run as we enter into community with each other…
…which we necessarily are. We are called into community together. If you divorce the people of God, the local community, from the gospel, then it ceases to be the gospel. There is no other context for your faith as a Christian than to be in community with other people. I’ve heard a lot of people say to me over the years, “It’s just me and Jesus, and that’s all I need.” Well, that’s not the gospel in Scripture. If you’re going to be those who claim to love Jesus, then you’ll be compelled, and I’ll be compelled to love the things that he loved. And he not only loved, but came and gave himself up for the church. And that makes it our concern as well. Continue reading
… so says Tertullian, to which I add my pathetic agreement.
“We are a body knit together as such by a common religious profession, by unity of discipline, and by the bond of a common hope. We meet together as an assembly and congregation, that, offering up prayer to God as with united force, we may wrestle with Him in our supplications. This violence God delights in. We pray, too, for the emperors, for their ministers and for all in authority, for the welfare of the world, for the prevalence of peace, for the delay of the final consummation.” ~ Apology
I completely ripped-off borrowed this from Peter Leithart. May it be a blessing to you.
God, save us from our disposition toward disunity and disintegration. Help us to see in our brother what is lacking in ourselves so that we may be more whole. Help us to not to look for ourselves in our brother, seeing our wickedness in him, charging him with our wickedness. Help us to seek Christ and to see Christ in our brother. Help us to be humble toward and grateful for our brother – for without humility and gratitude unity shall never be.
For the glory of your name and the expansion of your kingdom on earth. Amen.
Singing the New Song
The prayers of the psalms and the reading of Scripture should be followed by the singing together of a hymn, this being the voice of the Church, praising, thanking, and praying.
“Sing unto the Lord a new song,” the Psalter enjoins us again and again. It is the Christ-hymn, new every morning, that the family fellowship strikes up at the beginning of the day, the hymn that is sung by the whole Church of God on earth and in heaven, and in which we are summoned to join. Continue reading
… or Break Fast.
I know, I know… But I am not a slave to my own fasting devices and will roger up when the Spirit moves me. I need to bring to your attention a couple of events that might (should) interest you.
First, our own Uriesou Brito is preparing for ordination and the laying on of hands shall occur at 6:30PM at Providence. We meet at Trinitas Christian School on Johnson Ave and if you need directions please go here: Trinitas.
This is also an opportunity for you to attend a Covenant Renewal Worship service without having to miss a Sunday at your church. Our service will be very similar to what we do every Lord’s Day at Providence.
Second, and this is almost as exciting, we will be having a guest blogger in the next couple of weeks. I am still working on the details, but there will be a famous author and TV commentator stopping by our little backwater of a Blog to inject a comment or two (DV).
When I was on radio regularly I was able to interview the likes of John Stossel, Mark Steyn, Pat Buchannan and others. I also tried to pin down the controversial author who is planning on making an appearance here at The BasketTM, but it never came to pass. Like Joseph in the pit, I had no idea how God was going to work my disappointment in Radio for my audience’s good, but now I see. What the author’s publisher meant for evil*, God meant for good.
I shall not give you any more details, but stay tuned to The BasketTM for updates and the eventual posts.
al (the weak) sends
* The author’s publisher is not evil nor were her scheduling difficulties necessarily a ploy of the Devil. I realize that Sean Hanity is bigger than me and I submit accordingly.
Christian myth and ritual shape the people of God, by the power of the Spirit, into conformity to Christ, creating within the Church a palpable aroma of love, peace, purity, joy, ministry, mission and forgiveness. That aroma spreads from the Church to the city around it.
But what has happened if Christians fail to produce this aroma? What can we say when the fruits of the Spirit are not evident? What can we say when it no longer seems that the Spirit catches up the Church into the love and mission of the Trinity?
Perhaps the Spirit has departed. Perhaps the Spirit has been grieved.
-Peter Leithart, Against Christianity, p.112
“Several years ago, I happened to be visiting my parents when a longtime friend of my mother died. As I left the funeral, I spoke briefly to the woman’s son and in parting said, ‘The Lord be with you.’ Without hesitation, he responded, ‘And also with you.’ We had not seen one another in nearly a decade, but in that moment our common training in the Lutheran liturgy gave us words to say – Christian words – words of comfort and encouragement in the face of death.
“Our common training in the liturgy had taught us, in that moment at least, to speak Christianly.”
-Peter Leithart, Against Christianity, p.68
It is certainly the duty of a Christian man to ascend higher than merely to seek and secure the salvation of his own soul…If we wish to belong to Christ, let no man be anything for himself. But let us all be whatever we are for each other.