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g) Die Lebensgemeinschaft unserer Wahl 1984



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OUR COVENANT (englischer Originaltext)

PREAMBLE

We believe that God, who has revealed himself as Father, Son and Holy Spirit, has created all things and desires to be in communion with his creation. However, because human beings have chosen to rebel against him and to live for themselves, they are now dominated by the power of death and alienated from God, from creation and from one another. We believe that the Word of God, through whom all things are created and sustained, became human in Jesus Christ in order to gather up in his resurrection all who believe in him and to redeem the whole groaning creation.

We acknowledge the call of God to enter into that renewed communion with himself, with the rest of creation and with one another, and to discover our identity and purpose in life which flow out of that relationship. But God’s purposes are being opposed by the Evil One’s influence upon the world, which is exerted in individual and corporate ways, and we too are drawn into this conflict. We understand we are called to be a separate pilgrim people; we are called out of the values, standards, beliefs and securities which the world embraces to become a means of God’s redeeming work, his healing love, his ongoing salvation and his justice. We are to be a sign of God’s Kingdom on earth while we wait for its fulness in the final revelation of Jesus as Lord.

As children of the heavenly Father we acknowledge our disbelief and sin, repent from our self﷓centeredness, continue to receive forgiveness through Jesus and rejoice in the gift of the holy Spirit. We respond to the new covenant made by God through Christ's blood and make the following promise, our expression of our commitment to God and to one another.

We confess that Jesus Christ is our Lord and that he has called us to follow him and to be conformed to his image. We believe that the Spirit of God has led us to recognize this call in one another and to come together in Winnipeg to become a church of Jesus Christ. He has gathered us to be a place of his presence and to bear witness to the Father's love for the world.

THE NATURE OF OUR LIFE TOGETHER

The Body of Christ: We acknowledge that Christ is our head and that in our life together we are to be his presence on earth. In order to be his body we need to pursue open reconciled relationships. We commit ourselves to mutual ministry of encouragement and forgiveness. We recognize the need for the infilling and empowering of the Holy Spirit in our lives. We desire to discern the gifts of the Spirit among us and to encourage the development of those gifts in each of us in order to bring us to individual and corporate maturity in Jesus Christ. In worship we long to glorify Christ and to be reawakened to the call to be his people.

Discernment and Decision﷓Making: We recognize that Jesus Christ has given his body authority, which is exercised through the leading of the Holy Spirit, to make decisions concerning our life together. We freely submit ourselves to one another in our decision﷓making as a means of becoming liberated from individualism, in order to contribute and receive according to Gods unique gifts in each of us. We open ourselves to the discernment of the body in testing the spirits in areas relating to our body life, to trends in society or to individuals. In the context of mutual ministry we affirm gifts of leadership among us which are given to serve and upbuild the body.

Wholeness: We acknowledge that sin and wounds of the past have separated us from our Creator and others. In order that we may be restored to God’s image and purpose for us as whole persons, male and female, we commit ourselves to the work of the Holy Spirit in healing us and in giving us freedom from guilt and resentments. Also, recognizing that Satan's approach is to fragment society and to divide people on the basis of colour, nationality, sex, etc. we desire to be a healing community, a context for ourselves and others to come to oneness in Christ. In Jesus God’s peace is restored to all.

Scripture: We believe the Bible to be inspired by God and the authoritative guide for our life together. Through the work of the Spirit, it reveals to us the fulness of Jesus and God’s purposes for us in him. The living Word reveals the intents of our hearts and is nourishment for our souls, by which we are sustained, rebuked, enlightened and renewed. We commit ourselves to his work in us through the study of his Word.

AREAS OF OUR COMMON LIFE

Work: Understanding our vocation to be the people of God, we submit our occupations to the discernment of the community. We desire for persons to have work that is meaningful and of service to others. We affirm also the working together on common projects whenever possible as a means of our mutual upbuilding and ministry.

Family: We acknowledge that by making Christ and his Kingdom our primary loyalty, relationships within our natural families are given perspective accordingly. We affirm that being called into community does not lessen responsibilities toward our natural or extended families but rather equips us through Christ’s Spirit for fulfilling them according to his purpose. We affirm the children among us as a gift of God and as an integral part of our life together. We also encourage an attitude of welcoming others into our homes.

Economics: We desire to be of one heart and one soul and therefore make available all we possess, as discerned through this body, for the building of the kingdom, recognizing that we hold all things in trust from God. We know that material possessions tend to possess us by becoming our security or source of anxiety. We want to trust in God as our security and we assure one another that we will take an ongoing responsibility for each others needs including those of our children.

Inner Discipline: We seek to grow spiritually through times of personal encounter with God, opening ourselves to his love and truth by means of prayer, reflection, meditation on Scripture and fasting. We acknowledge the need for solitude for our individual nurture and that our personal lives with God are foundational for his presence and work in our community life and in the ministries in which we are involved.

RELATIONSHIPS TO OTHER CHRISTIANS

We recognize cur need to be in mutually strengthening and accountable relationships with other bodies of Christians of like mind and structure. We seek to dialogue with others who follow Christ and to support believers around the world in their struggle to be faithful to him. We want to learn from the church throughout history and trust that we thereby may find our place in the present and ready ourselves as a bride for Christ's return.

PEACEMAKERS,

We long to know the peace of God which passes understanding and to actively seek ways in which we can be peacemakers among ourselves, with nature and in society around us. We acknowledge that living simply and in harmony with creation can move us towards God’s intended order. We recognize that in dealing with the alienation and violence around and within us our struggle is not against humanity but against powers of evil. We long to see hearts changed by God through prayer, example, patient suffering for the sake of Christ, and proclamation of the word of truth in love rather than in ways involving coercion. Te desire to follow Christ who came not to be served but to serve and to give his life for others. We ask for grace to love ourselves and our enemies as we work to overcome evil with good.

THE WORLD

We acknowledge that, as people chosen by Christ, we are not of this world. We are called to be both the salt and the light of the world – by becoming a means of preserving the world against death and by a distinct style of living and a life of good deeds. In all of this our aim is to glorify God with the hope that others will come to know his love and forgiveness and come to be his children. We commit ourselves to loving the world by giving ourselves up for it as Jesus did and to suffering on his account. We commit ourselves to resisting evil, seeking justice and serving those who are victims of destructive spiritual forces which dominate the world. We desire not to be conformed to the power of death but to be transformed by the death and resurrection of Christ.

CHRIST' S RETURN

We will be alert to Christ's return knowing that if we believe in him he will take us to himself forever. Understanding this to be a time of final judgement and accountability for the whole world, we desire to live our lives accordingly. Because of the resurrection of Jesus, death has lost its power over us and we live in the hope of entering Christ's glory. We look forward to a new heaven and earth in which justice will reign.

CONCLUSION

We commit ourselves to this covenant until God leads us elsewhere, as discerned by the body. We make this promise not in our own strength but with the confidence we have through Christ and the leading of the Spirit in us. We rest in the assurance that he who has begun a good work in us is faithful and will bring it to completion on the day of Jesus Christ.

(Author: Grain of Wheat Church Community, Winnipeg, MB
www.grainofwheat.ca)