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Monday, November 14, 2011

By Community

This is the reading from Henri Nouwen today. It builds perfectly on what I wrote yesterday:
The Fruit of Our Communal Life

Our society encourages individualism. We are constantly made to believe that everything we think, say, or do, is our personal accomplishment, deserving individual attention. But as people who belong to the communion of saints, we know that anything of spiritual value is not the result of individual accomplishment but the fruit of a communal life.

Whatever we know about God and God's love; whatever we know about Jesus - his life, death, and resurrection - whatever we know about the Church and its ministry, is not the invention of our minds asking for an award. It is the knowledge that has come to us through the ages from the people of Israel and the prophets, from Jesus and the saints, and from all who have played roles in the formation of our hearts. True spiritual knowledge belongs to the communion of saints.
Yesterday I was challenged by Hebrews 11 and the call to live "by faith." Today I am reminded that I do not do this alone. It's not a simple matter of pulling myself up by my faith bootstraps and somehow believing harder. It's about pressing in to my church and community of faith. The Bible is a book written to us, not me. I like the way that Hebrews 12 is given in the New Living Translation:
1 Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a huge crowd of witnesses to the life of faith, let us strip off every weight that slows us down, especially the sin that so easily trips us up. And let us run with endurance the race God has set before us.
To live by faith is humanly impossible. Praise God that we are not asked to do it on our own. Through the Spirit and through God's people, may we run the race. It may not always look pretty and athletic, but through His grace, we get there.

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