A small group of us from TRINITY recently made a trip to Rwanda.
We were looking at water harvesting projects and visiting various potential recipients. We also went to monitor a micro finance project.
The thing that really stands out for me is the warmth of welcome that we always receive and the depth of friendship with anyone we have met before. The great gift which we are always given is that of welcome into their community.
What was really noticeable on this occasion was that the poorer the community in material wealth the more generous was the welcome and hospitality. While in the West there is the cult of the individual in Rwanda life is lived in community.
How do we form Christian community? It is a group of loving individuals mirroring the mutual self-abasing love which is expressed between the persons of the Trinity. We see this perfectly expressed in the person of Jesus and His relationship with His Father and the Spirit. Our Christian relationships should have the same mindset as Jesus; Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage; rather, he made himself nothing by taking the very nature of a servant, Phil 2:6-7.
When we become Christians, we are united with Christ in His death and resurrection so we are all adopted into the body and family of Christ. As we submit our wills to the gentle wind of the Spirit blowing into our lives we are slowly changed into the likeness of Christ. We learn to walk in love with one another just as Christ loved us. We submit to one another out of reverence for Christ. As we advance in our walk with Christ we learn that we must become lower as He becomes higher, the road on which we walk is the Calvary Rd, as we are reminded in a little book by Roy Hession with that title.
The Christian community should be made up of individuals all submitted to Christ and submitted to each other in mutual love. As we are all sinful individuals then this only becomes possible through mutual confession and forgiveness. As we eat our communion meal regularly together we are reminded of the completed work of Jesus in dying and rising for us, and His action in washing His disciples’ feet, that we are able to wash one another’s feet. This is the miracle of the love we should show for each other that we have been learning about in 1 John
16 This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us. And we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers and sisters. 17 If anyone has material possessions and sees a brother or sister in need but has no pity on them, how can the love of God be in that person? 18 Dear children, let us not love with words or speech but with actions and in truth. 1 John 3:16