The Communal Way

Lieder der Hutterischen Brüder, 419

Community, how shall we keep it? With firm dedication, in peace and love, constantly striving for it in undivided faith.

Christians, all of us that hope to inherit the Kingdom of God together, should we not start to live in community now?

Community begins when we withdraw from the world and separate ourselves from a worldly way of life. It begins when we give ourselves to Jesus Christ, that is, into his anguish and suffering.

So let us look to him as our example. He left his kingdom behind for this dark world. Clearly, riches and luxury did not attract him, but the treasure of human souls. He gave up his life so we might live forever.

Christ says, “Whoever will be my disciple must take up his cross and follow me, without being ashamed.” So let us prepare! Christians, let us prepare for trouble and pain! Let us prepare to persevere.

Christ says the birds of the air have nests. Foxes have holes. But the son of man has no place to lay his head. And now shall the disciple have it better than his master? Shall the servant own what his lord does not? “Like the world treated me,” Christ said, “it will surely treat you.” So keep to community, children of God! Even though the world rejects you for it, keep to community of goods to carry out his commands.

Finding community in Christ, we find eternal life, and whatever more we need, the Lord will supply. Believers, seek community! Seek it, Christian and pure! Follow the master, seeking not your own but the good of all!

The first Christians refused to call anything their own. They shared what they had, but one selfish man, Ananias by name, sold a piece of land and kept some back for himself. His wife joined in the plot so God, through Peter, punished them both. They fell to the ground and died but the rest of the believers feared and kept to godly community.

Paul gave us a comparison. “The members of the body work together,” he said, “not one of them serving itself but the whole. So if you want to be members of Christ’s body, given to him in baptism, carry out his will by doing the same.”

Christ gave us another comparison. “My father is a vine dresser,” he said. “I am the vine and you are the branches. If you do not stay in me you will never bear fruit again. I will cut you off and throw you into the fire. But if you remain with me you will bear lovely fruit.”

May we grow, fresh and green, branches of the vine. And let us thank God for planting us in his garden, together!

Hans Zimmerauer,     -1540, Tirol, Austria

Captured at Schwatz on the Inn, imprisoned and tortured at the Frundsberg, publicly beheaded.

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