1 John 5:1-6
Many images have been used to bring out the relationship between Christ and his Church. Body of Christ, branches of the vine, household of God are some. In John 15:15 Jesus referred to his disciples as friends. Friends of Jesus – that’s a good title for his disciples! Wouldn’t you like to be known as a friend of Jesus? And who are his friends? “You are my friends if you do what I command you.” And what does Jesus command of his disciples? “Love one another as I have loved you.” We are friends of Jesus in so far as we live in accordance with this way of life – Christ’s way of love. We are not his friends when we live selfishly. But all of these images have to do with relationship, and inter-personal relationships are never static. They are dynamic, changeable, fragile. In so far as the members of the Church embody the Spirit of Christ they are the Body of Christ. In so far as they abide in the vine with Christ abiding in them they are the branches. In so far as they live in a child-parent kind of relationship with God they are the household of God. Without that relationship of faith, trust; devotion and loyalty; worship and praise; obedience and commitment we are not the Church that we are called to be. We are just the shell of a Church. What gives substance to the Church is the lived relationship between its members and Jesus Christ. At the heart of the visible, organized, sociological entity known in the community as church, is this lived relationship of faith. “And this is the victory that conquers the world, our faith”, our faith relationship with Jesus, Son of God and Messiah. (1 John 5:4)
- We are familiar with the hymn, “What a friend we have in Jesus”, but could you also say, “What a friend Jesus has in me!”?
- Do you think we become friends of Jesus because we obey his command or do we obey his command because we are his friends?
- “At the heart of the visible, organized, sociological entity known in the community as church, is this lived relationship of faith.” How does this help us face the situation of church decline in our society?
- A family is a biological, sociological, legal, relational group of people. Which of these adjectives is most important in your understanding of family?