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A Community Living like Christ

Greetings All,

This weeks 'thought' comes to you from two sources. The first is from the Dutchman Thomas A'Kempis in his classic work "The Imitation of Christ." A'Kempis lived in the 1400's, and his book has been described as, "the most influential book in Christian literature.." It has been translated in 50 languages. A'Kempis grew up amidst The Brothers of the Common Life, whose basic beliefs were, "Turn away from sin, live like Jesus, and read God's Word." They believed in living a simple life, and were humble people -- seeking to pattern their lives after the early Christians, and especially after Jesus himself..

The second thought comes from Dietrich Bonhoeffer in his book "Life Together" (probably the most helpful book on pastoral wisdom I have ever read). Bonhoeffer's book "The Cost of Discipleship" (where he takes on the concept of "cheap grace") is also a classic and well worth the read. He was a German pastor killed by the Nazis in WWII just one month prior to the war's end, though he was by no means the only one. Around 1200+ other "Confessing" evangelical pastors who vocally opposed Hitler were also martyred.

These 'thoughts' have to do with bearing with the faults of others, and how intercessory prayer helps us in that endeavor. I trust you will find them helpful. Enjoy.


"How excellent a means of sanctifying us and fitting us for heaven is the exercise of that charity by which we support in ourselves and in others, those weaknesses which we cannot correct! For nothing can humble us and confound us before God more than a sense of our own miseries, and nothing can be more just than that we should bear in others those things which we would have them support in ourselves.

We should, therefore, bear with the tempers of others and endeavor to give no cause for uneasiness in anyone, on account of the fact that we have our own. It is thus, according to St.. Paul, we shall carry one another's burdens and fulfill the law ofJesus Christ, which is a law of love, meekness and patience."


"A Christian fellowship lives and exists by the intercession of its members for one another, or it collapses. I can no longer condemn or hate a brother for whom I pray, no matter how much trouble he causes me. His face, that hitherto may have been strange and intolerable to me, is transformed in intercession into the countenance of a brother for whom Christ died - the face of a forgiven sinner.

This is a happy discovery for the Christian who begins to pray for others. There is no dislike, no personal tension, no estrangement that cannot be overcome by intercession as far as our side of it is concerned.
Intercessory prayer is the purifying bath into which the individual and the fellowship must enter every day. The struggle we undergo with our brother in intercession may be a hard one, but that struggle has the promise that it will gain its goal.

How does this happen? Intercession means no more than to bring our brother into the presence of God. To see him under the Cross of Jesus as a poor human being in need of grace. Then everything in him that repels falls away. We see him in all his destruction and need. His need and his sin become so heavy and oppressive that we feel them as our own, and can do nothing else but pray" 'Lord, do Thou, Thou alone, deal with him according to Thy severity and Thy goodness. To make intercession means to grant our brother the same right that we have received -- namely, to stand before Christ and share in his mercy."

In the Bonds of Christian Charity, Pastor Jeff