Spiritual Discernment in Community

This was the idea I heard yesterday, and my sense is that I need to pay attention to it.   I say I heard it because it came in a conversation with a church consultant as we talked about the life of “church.”  This scholarly gentlemen mentioned that many scholars believe the work of the Holy Spirit to be primarily discerned in the context of community.  This is not to say that the individual movements in our hearts, the impulses and leanings and promptings we get from the Spirit in individual experience are less present and important, but that community is where the larger and fuller import of the Spirit’s work among the body will be apprehended.

Then I heard it again, in a conversation I had with a colleague who helped me understand the balance I have to achieve as I work on the Christmas musical as well as begin to take on more leadership responsibilities in the life of the church.   Her word to me was a corrective one, and one that I appreciated.  It helped me bring my focus back onto the task at hand as I walked into rehearsal last night, and we were much more productive.  I was thankful.

Proverbs tells us to get wisdom, though it cost us all we have.  It is more valuable that silver or gold, the writer tells us.  We often give lip service to this, but my current hunger to find wisdom calls into question my earlier stance toward it.  Kingdom living says “Ask and you will receive, seek and you will find, knock and the door will be opened to you.”  My current pounding of the door makes my earlier knocking little more than absent-minded tapping.  Jesus said the door will open to those who knock.   But we must stand at the door together, and knock and ask and seek as community.  As we turn to each other in conversation and hunger, the promise is that we will find.  We will be filled.

We need each other….

3 Replies to “Spiritual Discernment in Community”

  1. Amen.
    This post reminds me of Life Together by Bonhoeffer. I can barely read a sentence in that book without being convicted and comforted regarding God’s intentions for Community. I’m paraphrasing, but our church often reminds each other from this book that “the Word of Christ is often truer in my brother than it is in me”.

  2. If any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to him. But when he asks, he should believe and not doubt, because he who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind. This man should not expect to receive anything from the Lord; he is a double-minded man, unstable in all he does.
    James 1:5-8

    You make it sound complicated to receive wisdom from God, but James makes it sound really easy if we trust God will give it to us. Can you explain this inconsistancy?

  3. Anna,

    Not sure I can explain the “inconsistency”, but the opposite of “complicated” isn’t “easy,” but “simple.” And the kind of simplicity we’re searching for is rarely easy. But you’re right–I’m sure I make things more complex than they need to be. But my experience leads me to see life and multi-faceted and rich, and not all decisions are simple or easy. To act with wisdom is sometimes torturous, and we don’t always follow wise counsel, even if it’s from God.

    A man once told me, “The human mind has an infinite numbers of ways in which to deceive itself.” I suppose that is what makes it complicated. In a word…sin.

    My two cents…

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