In this issue
This issue focuses on how we should live together as disciples of the Lord Jesus Christ – especially in light of his coming again. The writer to the Hebrews links fervor in brotherly and sisterly love, mutual help and mutual encouragement (Hebrews 10:24-25) with the Day of the Lord drawing near – his return in glory as Judge and Ruler. The Day of the Lord will disclose who and what I have loved and devoted my life to most – serving and promoting myself or putting God and the welfare of my brothers and sisters in Christ first in my care and concern.
The Apostle Peter uses the thought of the second coming to urge people to fervent love and mutual hospitality (1 Peter 4:8–9). The Apostle Paul commands that all things be done in love (1 Corinthians 16:14) – Maran atha "the Lord is at hand" (1 Corinthians 16:22). He says that our forbearance must be known to all because the "Lord is at hand" (Philippians 4:5). The Greek New Testament word translated as forbearance is epieikēs, which means the spirit that is more ready to offer forgiveness than to demand justice.
The New Testament is sure
that in view of the second coming of
the Lord Jesus we must have our
personal relationships right with our
brothers and neighbors. The New
Testament urges that we should never
end a day with an unhealed rift
between ourselves and another person,
in case the Lord Jesus should come in
Jean Vanier, founder of
the L’Arche communities, bears witness
to the transforming power of the Holy
Spirit who brings people together in
close bonds of mutual love and care
for one another in community.
God seems pleased to call together in Christian communities people who, humanly speaking, are very different, who come from very different cultures, classes and countries. The most beautiful communities are created from just this diversity of people and temperaments. This means that each person must love the others with all their differences, and work with them for the community… They are signs of God. We might have chosen different people… but these are the ones God has given us, the ones he has chosen for us. It is with them that we are called to create unity and live a covenant. We choose our own friends, but in our families, we do not choose our brothers and sisters; they are given to us. So it is in community life. (quote from Community and Growth, by Jean Vanier)
As we move into a season
of preparation (Advent) for the
celebration of Christmas and a new
year of God's grace and mercy, let's
ask the Lord Jesus to fill our hearts
with the fire of his love and to renew
within each of us the fruits of the
Holy Spirit – “up-building love, joy,
peace, patience, kindness, goodness,
faithfulness, gentleness, forbearance,
forgiveness, and harmony” (Galatians
5:22-23) and so many other qualities
that bind us together as families and
communities in God's covenant love.