I am the way, the truth and the life’ Jesus did not call people to join an organisation, but to follow a way of life. Ray Simpson
In the last few years I have had a lot of people asking me about community, church, gathering, attendance etc… In the last decade our understanding of what it is to be a Christian or what it is to attend church has become very entrenched with the institutional model of attending church weekly on a Sunday. Singing three fast songs, two slow songs, having announcements, offering and a message.
I challenge you to show me where this model is reflected in the bible.
I constantly hear sentences like: Where do you fellowship? Where do you find like minded people? Where do you attend?
Jesus us told us to go OUT into all the world. His own life models being present in community, in every day life.
I have been challenged of recent years to be more present in my community. To BE the presence of God IN my community. To be available and to be salt and light. That means being accessible and involved in the life of the community around me.
Not living in fear. Not living in judgement and condemnation. Just being who God created me to be and loving those around me.
I am moving further and further away from the ‘us and them’ mentality and closer to just ‘us’. In doing so I have met and am doing life with some of the most amazing humans on the planet. There is no longer ‘us and them’. There is just us and that is enough for me. In fact I have had more God encounters in the last 4 years than in the previous 30.
For God so loved the world that He gave his only son Jesus.
I am sorry Christians but God does not love you more than anyone else. God IS LOVE. HE LOVES – everyone. He loves the whole world and everything in it.
When we love, we make an environment where the spirit of God can dwell because that is who he is. People are drawn to love, they crave it and need it. Love is the greatest power in the universe. “For the greatest of these is LOVE”.
Dear friends, let us continuously love one another, because love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born from God and knows God.
I no longer drive each week to a location to meet with other ‘Christians’.
I no longer spend all my time and energy ‘doing’ church I am the church.
I no longer worry about inviting people TO church. I invite people to church every time I have a conversation with them and every-time I demonstrate the love and acceptance of Christ toward them.
This post from Rev Ray Simpson from the Way Marks of Life initiative explains it very well and it is different for all of us. As long as we are following Christ and not the institution.
Way Marks Of Life
COMMUNITY IS NOT READY-MADE
I want you to know, brothers and sisters, that what has happened to me has actually helped to spread the gospel… and most of the brothers and sisters, having been made confidant in the Lord by my imprisonment, dare to speak the word with greater boldness and without fear. Philippians 1:12, 14.
There is no ready-made Community on anyone’s doorstep. Unity with other members is rooted in the knowledge that we all follow the community’s Way of Life and that this reflects our deepest calling. Introduction to the Way of Life
Traveller I want a community that is there for me every day where I live.
Guide I encourage you to ask yourself this question: Which do you love most – God or your idea of a community?
Traveller Why can’t I have both?
Guide God comes first. God may give you what you long for but it will be on his terms, not yours.
Traveller What do you mean?
Guide The first issue to sort out is this: Is God calling you to live this Way of Life? If you commit to this, you will be led wherever God wishes to lead you. God may ask you to open your heart to local people and share in an existing group, or to draw new friends to meet together. God may, however, lead you to a different focus.
Traveller Can you give an example?
Guide The apostle Paul was asked to travel on missionary journeys. Then he was put under house arrest. He carried those he had met in his heart. He wrote letters to them and prayed for them but he had no ready-made community on his doorstep. This dispersed community of Aidan and Hilda may be like that.
Traveller In what ways?
Guide Some keep in touch through area groups, and occasional community events, others keep in touch with like-minded members through Skype, Facebook, email and other social media. All use the daily prayer diary. But there is something deeper that binds us together. When we truly ‘come home’ we are known as we are known.
What is your deepest calling?
You can get Rays book here – Amazon. Way Marks for the Journey
I am the way, the truth and the life’ Jesus did not call people to join an organisation, but to follow a way of life.
Under the guidance of Ray Simpson, renowned for his expertise in Celtic spirituality, this daily prayer book is structured according to the way of life adopted by the Community of Aidan and Hilda. Along with a short Bible reading and reflection, each day includes a step to enable readers to move away from what is destructive towards what is life-giving. There is also a unique spiritual breathing exercise following the rhythm with which our bodies breather, allowing us to pray with our very core, wherever we are.