Jesus, at the close of ministry, chose to tell His Disciples to be “One”.
The Gospel of John chronicles this, starting with John 13:34, when telling the Disciples to love each other, and continuing to the end of Chapter 17. Jesus builds His case for Believers to be “One”. This is possibly the biggest care on Jesus’ mind and heart before his arrest.
In the prayer following teaching the Disciples to be “One”, He emphatically drove His point home (my own description), and petitioned God to undergird His followers to be “One”.
He could have stressed power or knowledge,
love or understanding,
but His chosen emphasis was unity:
That WE = ONE.
But do we give up our individual identities to the ideology of the community? Do you give up God’s essence within you when you come to the community? Do I?
It is in the community where individuality should be Shining! Nurtured! Welcomed! Received! Within the framework of our denominational frameworks (and the prones of non-denominational theologies as well) individual and small-group thought should be encouraged, strengthened, moved to the front, and reflected upon; and as needed corrected to God’s standard but if an adjustment of the community standard is needed — let the correction be made. (Most of the adjustment(s) would open existing thought to include a greater Christian context rather than actually cancelling anything.)
Letting the Holy Spirit reveal something to you, personally, would be worth the effort.
But just what does this mean?
-for us as a Community?
-for myself / yourself?
Paul spoke of both “mind” and “head”: having the same Mind as Christ and Christ as the Head of the Church.
I tend to think having Christ’s Mind weaves us together as a Christian Community; the Body of Christ with Christ as the Head. This was important to Paul, as he comes back to this in several of his writings. Having Christ’s mind greatly resonates in me along with:
- Jesus = the vine; we are branches
- Jesus wants us to know the Father
- Jesus and the Father are “One”
- Jesus sent us the Holy Spirit
- We are to Love one another
Thus we have our sustenance from Jesus, in order to know God & Jesus, who imbues the Spirit into us, causing the Fruit of Love.
Living in love, in community with each other requires dialogue — speech going back and forth — between people is central to fellowship. The better we know each other the healthier the community will be. Most of our theology, expressions, and decisions in our churches formulate and disseminate from a central core, namely the pastor, denomination positions, and seminaries; don’t misinterpret me, this process has been a good thing down through the ages of the Church. But we are truly “One” when sharing with each other of ourselves and not so much as a CEO makes a decision or tells us what we think. Fellowship goes beyond a carry-in meal with each other.
“in the community where individuality should be Shining! Nurtured! Welcomed! Received!”
Continuing: Similarly, in the first topic after the opening in 1 Corinthians, the Apostle Paul stresses learning from more than one teacher; and I would interject these teachings are from various schools of thought (for Paul this was small enclaves of beliefs, whereas, today, these would be, but not limited to, our denominational stances). He defines those who began looking towards a particular teacher, who only plants and waters, rather than looking to Christ, who, it is implied, gives differing insights about God through (I will conjecture) each of us.
I will stop here. Comments, anyone?
Have the mind of Christ. Be of one mind. Maranatha (the Lord comes).