Tuesday, 2 September 2014
Experiencing Community - Step One
Over the next few blog posts I will propose several steps that we might want to take which will help us to become those people among whom community is formed. We can remember from the Acts of the Apostles that those who were members of the first Church were those who had all things in common, not thinking especially of material possessions at first, but that sharing of the heart and life which is the necessary basis of Christian community.
The first step I am going to propose is simple. It is prayer. Everything we do must begin and continue and be completed in prayer and with grace. How can it be different when we seek to experience the communion of hearts with others in the love of Christ. Indeed since the experience of community is essentially that of the heart, we must begin with our own heart. This first step requires no great organisation or plan.
Here is what I suggest.
Create a list of ten people. Christian brothers and sisters. Perhaps even and especially members of your family. Of course we will also pray for many other people, both Christian and non-Christian. This list should be composed of those people with whom we are already called to experience Christian community, both in the little church of the home, and in the church of our own congregations. We might also include some of those we are in regular contact with even beyond our congregations. But these should be people that we are wishing to experience community with and with whom we have a sense that we are called to experience community.
Pray for them in the morning and in the evening. Pray for them as well as those you already pray for. But pray for them particularly as those with whom you wish to share your heart and your life more completely. There is no need to do anything else at the beginning. But pray for each one with commitment, with attention, and with generosity of heart in the morning and in the evening. Pray that God will be at work in their lives. Pray that they might be transformed by the presence of the indwelling Spirit and experience this presence more completely themselves. Pray for their needs as far as you know them.
This is the beginning.
Until we are able to pray consistently and generously for a small group of others then we have not begun the journey towards experiencing community. Perhaps it seems simple and obvious, but we must make it habitual before we move on.
If you wish to be kept informed of developments in this study, and participate in online discussion, then please join the Facebook Group - Discovering Orthodox Community.
I would also be grateful if some or all who share such interest would also consider helping to fund this detailed study. Making the time requires funding. Obtaining resources, contacting existing groups, visiting functioning Communities all takes money. If you would be willing to contribute a donation of any amount to sustain the many hours and days and weeks of work that will be required then you will receive a free e-book copy of this Orthodox community study when it is completed.
What will we discover can be done? What is God's will? Many of us share this same desire for community. Please consider helping to fund this study as much as you are able.