Monday, September 05, 2005

CQOD: 09/07/05 -- Dodd: the Divine Commonwealth

Christian Quotation of the Day

September 7, 2005
Commemoration of Douglas Downes, Founder of the Society of Saint Francis, 1957
    Now about food sacrificed to idols: We know that we all possess knowledge. Knowledge puffs up, but love builds up.
    -- 1 Corinthians 8:1 (NIV)

     We have spoken throughout of the Divine Commonwealth. That phrase represents Paul’s “ecclesia of God.” It is a community of loving persons, who bear one another’s burdens, who seek to build up one another in love, who “have the same thoughts in relation to one another that they have in their communion with Christ.” It is all this because it is the living embodiment of Christ’s own Spirit. This is a high and mystical doctrine, but a doctrine which has no meaning apart from loving fellowship in real life. A company of people who celebrate a solemn sacrament of Christ’s Body and Blood, and all the time are moved by selfish passions—rivalry, competition, mutual contempt—is not for Paul a Church or Divine Commonwealth at all, no matter how lofty their faith or how deep their mystical experience; for all these things may “puff up;” love alone “builds up.”
     In the very act, therefore, of attaining its liberty to exist, the Divine Commonwealth has transcended the great divisions of men. In principle, it has transcended them all, and by seriously living out that which its association means, it is on the way to comprehending the whole race. Short of that its development can never stop. This is the revealing of the sons of God for which the whole creation is waiting.
    ... C. Harold Dodd (1884-1973), The Meaning of Paul for Today [1920]

Quiet time reflection:
    Lord, show me how to help with the building up of the church.

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think Mr. Dodd truly defined the great dichotomy in this piece. The world looks to or at the "church" as a denomination or institution with these stated or desired expectations (though often bringing no personal responsibility into the mix). The reality though is that the church is made up of individuals, bonded together in the common persuit of growing in the faith and knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. The commitment level of the individual equals the amount of time they are willing to put into that relationship with the Father and that in turn will impact the attitudes, actions and growth that comes about as a bi product of that relationship. Just sitting in the congregation does not guarantee anything, and it is hard to know how to communicate this to those who have been raised to see "the church" as a place, as being their means of salvation.

September 7, 2005 at 12:14 PM  

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