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JOYFUL JOTTINGS 19
CON-UNITY, COMMUNITY AND LOVE OF THE BRETHREN
Suffice here to say that
this frequently involves an exceedingly misleading fantasy, which puts into
words a desire which does not have the benefit of representing the facts. In this
way it is often used to indicate clergy, or unions, surgeons, or
lawyers, and about any group you can wish to be at one within
This talk seems to indicate
that all churches, or all lawyers, or all voters, or all buyers or whatever it
may be, are a complexion of togetherness. We think perhaps of a nice little
English, Anglican village in the
While it MAY PERHAPS be the case that such a thing as a community could be at least sanely be read into such a situation as one has just described, in a country where the OFFICIAL RELIGION is of the Anglican kind, where a village may be of such a mind, and the Empire is vast and bulging
(not that it was ever wise or practical to make an official, national religion to be in any sense under the control of the country, since the country per se is not Christian because someone legislates it to be so);
and even this
may be disputed. THAT HOWEVER IS NOT AT ALL THE CASE HERE.
Far less likely, if ever the thing was unlikely then, is it now!
Why ? Oh, there is
There are more, and it would be tedious to describe them, but if you want the thing systematised, you may find something along those lines in The Other News 19, which also has the advantage of showing the only morals that can stand, as does SMR Chs. 3-4, with Barbs, Arrows and Balms 19, which can be taken with Items 7, 13 as well.
It is not our purpose to trace these things here: they are done elsewhere. We are getting to the point of 'community', and merely providing perspective along the way.
It is a misnomer.
It COULD apply to a Christian body composed of those who voluntarily and sincerely and faithfully receive Christ and know Him, and walk with Him and pray in the Spirit of the same, follow His word, and are friends of God (I mean a group of Christians, rather than formalised furnishings in ecclesiastical places).
It SHOULD apply, and it can so apply.
But as one has tried to emphasise by the very mode of description: this is no small thing. It is a wonder and a marvel, and a beauty, a thing of holiness and joy. It follows the word of God and is content without the panache and rush and unruliness of churches which become dead-weights, if not in some sense, dreadnoughts, asserting themselves as if it were any better for doing so in the mass, than in the individual man!
But as to this term
'community', unless it be redefined to mean 'society' - a bit unnecessary:
IT CERTAINLY CANNOT AND DOES NOT APPLY TO THE KALEIDOSCOPIC MASS OF PEOPLE WHO HAPPEN TO BE DOCTORS, OR TEACHERS, OR UNIONISED WORKERS OR WHATEVER. The soul is not gained by professional knowledge any more than by economic links, or social ones.
It is true that it MAY BE. People may indeed, and often do, sell their souls to this or that interest or passion. It is certainly not automatic however. People are often in one interest group while their soul is sold to something quite different; and some people have not sold their souls at all, but have them in the hands of God who made them, by the security and commitment which is available in the Covenant of Christ, the New Covenant in His blood. Yet THIS MEANS that they not only ARE not at one with some 'community' group of amorphous kind, the this or that group, which is not so founded. It means likewise that they CANNOT BE SO. No man, said Jesus Christ, the sovereign one in this area in word, as in all in the end, in deed: "No man can SERVE TWO MASTERS." This is found in the Sermon on the Mount, at Matthew 6:24. The point is rather clear. Conflict of interest ensures that any presumed service will be compromised for one or the other or both of the 'masters'!
this fabled and decidedly non-fabulous 'community' of which we hear so nauseatingly
much is in much of its current, cultural use, an invention of the tongue,
an affair of the lips. 'Society' is a word which covers the case: and that ? It
is the structured, interlocking, intermixing, mutually constructive (or
perchance destructive) grouping of peoples in some town or country or phase of
either. This does not presuppose anything. It is hence not wrong through a
false presupposition, as is the noted current use so often accorded to
COMMUNITY however as a gratuitous, and indeed appallingly inept assumption in describing society, and especially society at large, the case yet more extreme, is CON-UNITY.
There are, let us again acknowledge, of course some elements of agreement in diverse societies which are not ruled with iron. There is often a cultural norm, which at times becomes a tyranny, and at times is a pleasant restraint, until such time as it becomes an idol, often a left-over from a religious base, no longer acknowledged, and perhaps, no longer desired. The point however is this: the GROUP concerned per se, as such, in themselves, are normally NOT A COMMUNITY. They have a range of interests in common which is likely to be in stark contrast with the degree of their moral, social, intellectual, spiritual and religious thoughts, their value structure, personality priorities and so forth. If you want to put it, you could say, to take lawyers as an example: the 'legal community' is -
THE LEGAL GROUPING WITH THEIR TRENDS IN SOME AREAS, WHEN CONSTRAINED BY CUSTOM AND NOT INVOLVED IN INNOVATION, DISPUTATION (WHEN IS THAT?) AND CONFRONTATION, CAREFULLY ISOLATED FROM OTHER TRENDS OF A CONTRARY KIND.
This however is getting to be on the longish side... Better 'society' or 'profession'. There is then an obvious DESIRE to have a unity in SOMETHING, of SOMETHING for SOME PURPOSE and if possible without looking entirely idiotic, to apply this to groups and even large segments of people, even indeed, to a 'community of nations'*1.
· the One whose rest, who as resting place would be glorious (Isaiah in the midst of his Messianic portrayal):
GOD IS ONE and His WORD IS ONE, and His salvation IS ONE, and the people are from ONE GOD, through ONE ORIGINAL PAIR made by God, as is being more and more attested in science's genetic quest. Hence the estrangement from GOD is being perversely displayed in the desire for something which is ONE WITHOUT HIM.
For that reason, we can account for this strange, aberrant phenomenon as it is intellectually, of having the community as one, pasted and labelled endlessly in fashions bordering between the ludicrous and the hilarious, by contrast with the reality. It is like someone gasping for air, when inhaling deeply from cigarette smoke in the midst of an industrial suburb. It is the desire for what is denied, but as with the cigarette case, wilfully denied. There is therefore a rationale for it which gives a rational explanation for the irrational nomenclature. That is simply one more of the seemingly endless verifications of the Bible. It has everything covered.
Accordingly, let us now turn to the reality. First, there is the Lord Himself, whose whole language even in biology, is ONE. That is a scientific and amazing fact. It is also ONE in the Bible, as we have demonstrated, the only authorised written word of God to mankind (cf. SMR Chs.1-3,8-10). As a result, since men are sinners, and God is love, there is ONE SALVATION, for this ONE LORD and ONE SAVIOUR, and ONLY ONE, who did it by Himself, the Son sent from heaven by the Father and empowered by His Spirit. He then becomes ONE HEAD of ONE BODY, those who are the brethren (Ephesians ).
What then of this 'love of the brethren'
of which you speak,
the discerning reader may ask. Where is that ? But one has already indicated
that area in terms of a Christian group.
Where then is the love ? you ask.
That is the nature
That is the nature of the dynamic drawing of this Christ, and the required quality of His people. This is the source of the new spiritual genetics (I John 3:9), where truth is inbuilt, wedded to love as dynamic (cf. Galatians 5:6, Hebrews ).
Don't be fooled by quacks
in medicine or by charlatans in religion. The way of Christ is quite clearly
written, and is often seen; it is described briefly and beautifully in I John.
It is seen when He is Lord in fact, not in mere word (contrary for example, to
the case noted through Isaiah in 29:13. It is found when the term 'church'
itself, like 'community' is not a verbal substitute for fact, but one which
relates to a specified and defined grouping of persons, founded on the living
Christ, whose power and presence as prophet, priest and king (cf. Hebrews Chs.
1-10), is as overpowering in reality as it is in word (cf. I Thessalonians
1:5-6, 4:9-10). It is, after all, the case, that those who worship God must do
so in spirit and in truth, as Christ said (John 4).
· The living waters enable this (John , -39), the cleansed soul is presupposed (I John 1:7-2:2) and the power of God secures it (I Peter 1:5, I John 3:9). As to that, as it is written, and found in practice: "God gives the Holy Spirit to those who obey Him." This does not MEAN that you WIN it like a prize, for ALL Christians have it (Romans 8:9, I Cor. , Titus 3:5). It of course means that you are given the enablement to do what you are commanded.
· Power is provided for a purpose - His. Even a firm might be expected to do that for its employes, if it is more than slightly sane. Much more can, and does the Creator so provide the power to be and to do of His good pleasure, He, who is love (I John 4:7) : when the people are His, and so have faced the realities of life, and of sin, and of love, repented, been reconciled to God through the ransom available in Jesus Christ, and found Him, who gives to 'love' its name, fame and foundation.
· In THAT love is an incorporation about the Head, like a body, in which the organs have mutually supportive tasks, once formed by the Creator physically, now fashioned by salvation, through the Holy Spirit, spiritually (cf. I Cor.12). So it becomes a thing new in scope and brilliance, yet quiet in patience and hope, among His people (Ephesians -21, -16, Romans 12). Here it is laid down by the provider of life, acting now as the organiser of those who are freely committed to Him, and through Him, to one another. There is the community of which the body is a type, the thoughts when bathed in truth, are a partial illustration, and the Lord is the exemplar, with His Father (John 10:30, 8:29, Philippians 2, 5:19-23) in the Trinity (II Cor. 13:14, John 15:26, Matthew 28:19).
· Finally, it is not the case that LOVE IS GOD, for the philosophic conception, variable as it is, is not definition of anything, with the slightest degree of precision. Such love can be as disunified as you could wish.
· Rather: GOD IS LOVE.
It is God who reveals Himself in the purity which makes the
things lovely, the redemption which restores what is not, the sufficiency of
power and sacrifice to pay, and the grace and faithfulness to lead: it is He
who is love (I John 4:7-8). It is HIS, who made us; and in Him ONLY, do we find
, in knowing God, what love is, without minimisation, immunisation or
improvisation. When the heart is pure, the light shines; and who, who can make
his heart clean! as Solomon puts it. But GOD, He is able, for He has the
ingredients necessary in the plan of salvation, the blood of purchase, the
purity of the Christ who suffices and covers and the grace to accept us in Him,
who come to Him as He is (cf. Proverbs 16:2, 20:9, Psalm 49:7,15, Jeremiah