Saturday, December 20, 2008

To Become Like a Child

"We seek a humble way. We seek a childlike faith. How can we love God if we do not love our brothers whom we can see?"

These were the words spoken to me this evening by a brother from the Bruderhof community at Maple Ridge. Our family joined our friends at the Bruderhof for a feast of Swedish meatballs, cherry pie and a very hearty carol sing. Different families of the community had made very special decorations for each day of advent that were hanging from a beautiful star in the center of the dining hall (see hanging of the corn star below).

Where else does one go in the world to see a large community (300 people live at the Maple Ridge community and there are a couple dozen communities world-wide) of people seeking to live the Sermon on the Mount in such a united way? The Bruderhof, with their testimonies of simplicity and their attention to the least among us, shine a bright light and challenge all of us to live our faith intentionally, with simple child-like love for God and fellow man.

Their mission statement is posted in the main gathering room. It is very focusing.

We declare ourselves in unity under God's judgment and mercy.

We vow that we want to live in reverence for God, for Christ and for his Holy Spirit.

The cross, where the forgiveness of sins can be found, is the center of our life.

We declare war against all irreverence toward God, his Christ and his church.

We declare war against the misuse of the name of God, of Christ and his Holy Spirit.

We declare war against all irreverence toward the childlike spirit of Jesus as it lives in children, and we want to fight for those older children in whom the childlike spirit has been partly lost.

We declare war against all emotional or physical cruelty to children.

We declare war against the search for power over the souls of other people, including children. We seek the atmosphere of the church and of the angels of God.

We vow to pray for the light of Jesus so that all who are in bondage or tormented by evil thoughts may be freed, and so that all those who serve darkness may be revealed and called to repentance.
We declare war against the spirit of mammon and all false love connected with mammon.

We declare war against all human greatness and all forms of vanity.

We declare war against all pride, including collective pride.

We declare war against the spirit of unforgiveness, envy and hatred.

We vow to lay down before the cross our own power and our own "greatness."

We declare war against any degrading of others, including those who have fallen into sin.

We declare war against cruelty to anyone, even if he has sinned.

We declare war against all kinds of magic or curiosity and satanic darkness.

We ask for courage to rejoice in suffering and persecution for the cause of right.

We ask for forgiveness of our sins because without Jesus our hearts and our actions cannot be pure.

We pray to live for the world as Jesus expressed it in John 17: that we may be one as Christ is one with the Father, so that the world may believe that Christ was sent by the Father. With Christ we ask not to be taken out of this world but to be protected from the power of evil.

We ask Christ to consecrate our brotherhood through his truth. Christ's Word is the truth. We ask that he may send us out to be a light in the world.