Ghan at Marla SA



Dietrich Bonhoeffer, in his classic, ‘Life Together’ positions us as individuals and community in God through Christ. The three-personed God is unity in diversity as God. Each of the trinity is an individual person who lives in joyous, loving union with the Others. This union is a oneness that makes them distinct as who they are as Father, Son and Holy Spirit. Thomas Torrance and others have named this oneness in individuality as perichoresis. It’s the archetype of our relationship with God in which we are hidden in Christ to become our true selves. This applies to us as individuals and community.

The implication is that when we accept Christ’s invitation to be included in Him in this trinitarian communion – we take on God’s nature in that we grow into our true selves with the ability to live richly in community.

But such richness in our lives together will not come to us via ‘meeting going’ or church growth strategies because this kind of community comes from the trinity in us and not from externalities derived from Christian social science.

A life in peace and joy with the ability to find pleasure in church community, rather than it being a trial and a burden does not start with re-invention of the church. It starts with the re-creation of you as a person in whom Jesus is expressed in you. Expressed in you because the Christ has come in our flesh so that you are a manifestation of Christ rather than an expression of religion and churchism. A rich life together starts in the heart. It grows as the nature of Jesus and the trinity is expressed in you and in us.

The difference between a Christian who is alive in Christ and one who is not is that the first is the expression of Christ who lives in him/her while the second is the expression of the religion of Christ. Spirit is alive and religion is an externality. Only the first is alive and only the first is capable of imparting the love and life that is Christ our life. Jesus was this life and imparted this life that John called spirit and life.

‘The Spirit gives life; the flesh counts for nothing. The words I have spoken to you—they are full of the Spirit and life’ John 6.63 NIV. The flesh is the law or religion or any artefact that is not Christ Himself.
A life in mere religion will breed a dissatisfaction with mere religion.  Christ’s inheritance for you is not a pedestrian routine or contract in which you do something for Him in the hope of getting something back. It’s a life in which you are imbued with His spirit and life to become a Life-Giver who imparts Christ’s spirit and life to your spouse, family, church friends and those in your workplace.  New Creation life spreads outwards from those who are this spirit and life.
If you have a passion to be alive more than merely ‘undead’ in religion, you can participate in this richness in small groups of likeminded people if there is a lack of interest in your church.
A small group met to plan a Christian Conference. Some asked if there would be a place for more prayer and others just wanted more of Christ. Another in the group remarked, ‘They don’t know who we are.’ This person was referring to the fact that at heart they and their friend did not live from religion but from a real union with Jesus who imparted to them His Spirit and Life. They lived Christ come in their flesh. This person wanted the conference to be about joining seekers of life to life itself – Christ incarnated in them. They wanted this directness of union with God in Jesus un-suffocated by religion – an incarnated Christ-life in which the Believers would gain what their hearts were seeking – the water of life oneness with God that is already theirs in Christ.
Many need to know that institutional religion is not their God; that we each have direct access to God in the Christ who is in our being. They need to know that the eucharist is the way of their incarnated life – not just a religious rite but the essence of Kingdom Life. This is the sacrament that upholds the Spirit who lives in people who are not just place holders, but apostolic witnesses of Christ who has come in their flesh.
Our life together can be another distraction/ endurance test, or it can be incarnated with Jesus, Father and Holy Spirit. Christ is our life and not some externality. We are not in oikos if we are not personlly living union with Christ. Whether we go to our standard church, a house church or a café church, the form of togetherness is not the point. An infatuation with some version of the re-invented church is a distraction and can be another idol of the church. Wherever you are and no matter what form your life in Christ together may take, the essence of your life is union with Christ and not the package of togetherness you may be in.
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The Trinity in You