I love this series. It’s my own little Anabaptist Geek’fest.’
Introducing Ulrich Stadler (died 1540). He was a first generation Anabaptist Hutterite who worked through some deep theological issues regarding community, and sharing life together. These are some very valuable words on community for us to contemplate today.
Ulrich Stadler on a “True Community of Saints.”
There is one communion (Gemain) of all the faithful in Christ and one community (Gemainschaft) of the holy children called of God. They have one Father in heave, one Lord Christ; all are baptized and sealed in their hearts with one Spirit. They have one mind, opinion, heart, and soul as having all drunk from the same fountain, and alike await one and the same struggle, cross, trial, and, at length, one and the same hope in glory. But it, that is, such a community (Gemain) must move about in this world, poor, miserable, small, and rejected of the world, of whom, however, the world is not worthy. Whoever strives for lofty things (of this world) does not belong. Thus in this community everything must proceed equally, all things be one and communal, alike in the bodily gifts of their Father in heave, which he daily gives to be used by his own according to his will. For how does it make sense that all who have here in this pilgrimage to look forward to an inheritance in the kingdom of their Father should not be satisfied with their bodily goods and gifts?
Judge, O you saints of God, you who are thus truly grafted into Christ, with him deadened to the world, to sin, and to yourselves, that you never hereafter live for the world or yourselves but rather for him who died for you and arose, namely, Christ. (They) have also yielded themselves and presented themselves to him intimately, patiently, of their own free will, naked and uncovered, to suffer and endure his will and, moreover, to fulfill it and thereafter also to devote themselves in obedience and service to all the children of God. Therefore, they also live with one another where the Lord assigns a place to them, peaceably, united, loving, amicably, and fraternally, as children of one Father. In their pilgrimage they should be satisfied with the bodily goods and gifts of their Father, since they should also be altogether as one body and members one toward the other.
“Spiritual Life in Anabaptism: Classic Devotional Resources” Translated and Edited by Cornelius J. Dyck. 140-141
What does it look like for a “grafted into Christ” community to share life together? In what ways is community important to you? In what ways does it drive you nuts?