Dietrich Bonhoeffer, a German pastor who was executed by The Gestapo in 1945, wrote in his book Life Together that “The first service one owes to others in a community involves listening to them. Just as our love for God begins with listening to God’s Word, the beginning of love for others is learning to listen to them. God’s love for us is shown by the fact that God not only gives God’s Word, but also lends us God’s ear.”
We do God’s work for our brothers and sisters when we learn to listen to them” (Life Together)
This week we will focus on community which we can find in our church, the neighbourhood we live in, and our workplace. Basically it is the place where we encounter people whom we have something in common. We have the ability to influence those in our community by our words and actions and if we desire any type of relationship with them we need to intentionally acknowledge their existence. As Bonhoeffer suggests, the greatest thing we can do for those in our community is to listen them into existence. If we put aside our phones for a while, turn off our TV, and go listen we will be pleased with whom God has placed in community with us.
Being in community is God’s desire for humanity. He wants us to live in harmony where we express AGAPE type love and unselfishly seek to positively interact with others. Humanity has been infected by generations and generations of self-pleasing habits and so loving others as God desires is not our first response. We need God’s grace and fruit of the Holy Spirit in order to love as God calls us to love.
We should desire community and not run from it. We are uniquely made to worship God and be a blessing to others and function best when we are in harmonious relationship with others. Spend time over the next week to talk with God about how you can be an ear or hands to someone in your community.
Review the material below: (scripture, reflection video, praise song and prayer) so as to prepare yourself for the upcoming week. Take some time to reflect on each piece and consider revisiting them from time to time during the week. Let them speak to your heart about the need to share Jesus with the lost.
SCRIPTURE – I John 4:11 (New International Version)
“Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another.”
REFLECTION VIDEO – Do community
PRAISE SONG – If we are the body
PRAYER – Read and reflect on this prayer (from Street Psalms) while asking God to turn your heart to those outside your door:
“Wonderful God, with all our hearts and with all our minds, we pray to you. We pray for your peace from above, for your loving-kindness, and for the salvation of our souls.
We pray for our community, and for those who live in it. We pray for the aged and infirm, for the widowed and orphans, and for the sick and the suffering. We pray for the poor and the oppressed, for the unemployed and the destitute, and for prisoners and captives and for all who remember and care for them.
We pray that we and others may end our lives in faith and hope. Defend us, deliver us, and in your compassion protect us, O Lord, by your grace. AMEN”