The Code of the West

1. Live each day with courage.

2. Take pride in your work.

3. Always finish what you start.

4. Do what has to be done.

5. Be tough, but fair.

6. When you make a promise, keep it.

7. Ride for the brand.

8. Talk less and say more.

9. Remember that some things aren’t for sale.

10. Know where to draw the line.

That Which is Rejoicing, Gratitude, Reverence, and Loyalty

In preparing for this week’s Sunday School class on 1 Peter 1:13-2:3, I was seeking to discern what this one important imperative truly means:

“Having purified your souls by your obedience to the truth for a sincere brotherly love, love one another earnestly from a pure heart, since you have been born again, not of perishable seed but of imperishable, through the living and abiding word of God.”–1 Peter 1:22-23

What, then, does it mean to show sincere love to each other as brothers and sisters, to love each other deeply with all your heart??? What does such brotherly affection look like??? How do we believers live out this important biblical command (something my frequently dad tells me I must do and not just say!) ?In my reading I came across this long but enlightening quote by Richard Niebuhr.?? His explanation is apt and profound:

What then is love and what do we mean by God and by neighbor when we speak of the ultimate purpose of Church, and so of theological education, as the increase of love of God and neighbor among men? By love we mean at least these attitudes and actions: rejoicing in the presence of the beloved, gratitude, reverence and loyalty toward him.

Love is rejoicing over the existence of the beloved one; it is the desire that he be rather than not be; it is longing for his presence when he is absent; it is happiness in the thought of him; it is profound satisfaction over everything that makes him great and glorious.

Love is gratitude: it is thankfulness for the existence of the beloved; it is the happy acceptance of everything that he gives without the jealous feeling that the self ought to be able to do as much; it is a gratitude that does not seek equality; it is wonder over the other’s gift of himself in companionship.

Love is reverence: it keeps its distance even as it draws near; it does not seek to absorb the other in the self or want to be absorbed by it; it rejoices in the otherness of the other; it desires the beloved to be what he is and does not seek to refashion him into a replica of the self or to make him a means to the self’s advancement. As reverence love is and seeks knowledge of the other, not by way of curiosity nor for the sake of gaining power but in rejoicing and in wonder.

In all such love there is an element of that “holy fear” which is not a form of flight but rather deep respect for the otherness of the beloved and the profound unwillingness to violate his integrity.

Love is loyalty; it is the willingness to let the self be destroyed rather than that the other cease to be; it is the commitment of the self by self-binding will to make the other great.

H. Richard Niebuhr, The Purpose of the Church and Its MInistry, Reflections on the Aims of Theological Education (New York: HarperCollins, 1956), pp.34-36.?? Quoted in David R. Helm, 1 & 2 Peter and Jude (Wheaton, IL: Crossway, 2008), pp.69-70.?? Emphasis mine.

That Which is Rejoicing, Gratitude, Reverence, and Loyalty

In preparing for this week’s Sunday School class on 1 Peter 1:13-2:3, I was seeking to discern what this one important imperative truly means:

“Having purified your souls by your obedience to the truth for a sincere brotherly love, love one another earnestly from a pure heart, since you have been born again, not of perishable seed but of imperishable, through the living and abiding word of God.”
–1 Peter 1:22-23

What, then, does it mean to show sincere love to each other as brothers and sisters, to love each other deeply with all your heart?  What does such brotherly affection look like?  How do we believers live out this important biblical command (something my frequently dad tells me I must do and not just say!) ?

In my reading I came across this long but enlightening quote by Richard Niebuhr.  His explanation is apt and profound:

What then is love and what do we mean by God and by neighbor when we speak of the ultimate purpose of Church, and so of theological education, as the increase of love of God and neighbor among men? By love we mean at least these attitudes and actions: rejoicing in the presence of the beloved, gratitude, reverence and loyalty toward him.

Love is rejoicing over the existence of the beloved one; it is the desire that he be rather than not be; it is longing for his presence when he is absent; it is happiness in the thought of him; it is profound satisfaction over everything that makes him great and glorious.

Love is gratitude: it is thankfulness for the existence of the beloved; it is the happy acceptance of everything that he gives without the jealous feeling that the self ought to be able to do as much; it is a gratitude that does not seek equality; it is wonder over the other’s gift of himself in companionship.

Love is reverence: it keeps its distance even as it draws near; it does not seek to absorb the other in the self or want to be absorbed by it; it rejoices in the otherness of the other; it desires the beloved to be what he is and does not seek to refashion him into a replica of the self or to make him a means to the self’s advancement. As reverence love is and seeks knowledge of the other, not by way of curiosity nor for the sake of gaining power but in rejoicing and in wonder.

In all such love there is an element of that “holy fear” which is not a form of flight but rather deep respect for the otherness of the beloved and the profound unwillingness to violate his integrity.

Love is loyalty; it is the willingness to let the self be destroyed rather than that the other cease to be; it is the commitment of the self by self-binding will to make the other great.

H. Richard Niebuhr, The Purpose of the Church and Its MInistry, Reflections on the Aims of Theological Education (New York: HarperCollins, 1956), pp.34-36.  Quoted in David R. Helm, 1 & 2 Peter and Jude (Wheaton, IL: Crossway, 2008), pp.69-70.  Emphasis mine.

Dietrich Bonhoeffer on the Parable of Permanence

Life Together:

Their fellowship is founded solely upon Jesus Christ and this ???alien righteousness.??? All we can say, therefore, is: the community of Christians springs solely from the biblical and Reformation message of the justification of man through grace alone; this alone is the basis of the longing of Christians for one another. (12)

Thus the very hour of disillusionment with my brother becomes incomparably salutary, because it so thoroughly teaches me that neither of us can ever live by our own words and deeds, but only by that one Word and Deed which really binds us together???the forgiveness of sins in Jesus Christ. When the morning mists of dreams vanish, then dawns the bright day of Christian fellowship. (26???27)

Letters and Papers from Prison:

Over the destiny of woman and of man lies the dark shadow of a word of God???s wrath, a burden from God, which they must carry. The woman must bear her children in pain, and in providing for his family the man must reap many thorns and thistles, and labor in the sweat of his brow. This burden should cause both man and wife to call on God, and should remind them of their eternal destiny in his kingdom. Earthly society is only the beginning of the heavenly society, the earthly home an image of the heavenly home, the earthly family a symbol of the fatherhood of God. […]

In a word, live together in the forgiveness of your sins, for without it no human fellowship, least of all a marriage, can survive. (31)

The Cost of Discipleship:

Thus it begins; the cross is not a terrible end to an otherwise God-fearing and happy life, but it meets us?? at the beginning of our communion with Christ.?? When Christ calls a man, he bids him come and die. . . .

???Rejoice and be exceeding glad: for great is your reward in heaven.??? There shall the poor be seen in the halls of joy.?? With his own hand God wipes away the tears from the eyes?? of those who had mourned upon the earth.?? He feeds the hungry at his Banquet. There stand the?? scarred bodies of the martyrs, now glorified and clothed?? in the white robes of eternal righteousness instead of the?? rags of sin and repentance. The echoes of this joy reach?? the little flock below as it stands beneath the cross,?? and they hear Jesus saying: ???Blessed are ye!??? (99, 128)

Dietrich Beonhoeffer, as quoted in John Piper, This Momentary Marriage: A Parable of Permanence (Crossway, 2009).

Dietrich Bonhoeffer on the Parable of Permanence

Life Together:

Their fellowship is founded solely upon Jesus Christ and this “alien righteousness.” All we can say, therefore, is: the community of Christians springs solely from the biblical and Reformation message of the justification of man through grace alone; this alone is the basis of the longing of Christians for one another. (12)

Thus the very hour of disillusionment with my brother becomes incomparably salutary, because it so thoroughly teaches me that neither of us can ever live by our own words and deeds, but only by that one Word and Deed which really binds us together—the forgiveness of sins in Jesus Christ. When the morning mists of dreams vanish, then dawns the bright day of Christian fellowship. (26–27)

Letters and Papers from Prison:

Over the destiny of woman and of man lies the dark shadow of a word of God’s wrath, a burden from God, which they must carry. The woman must bear her children in pain, and in providing for his family the man must reap many thorns and thistles, and labor in the sweat of his brow. This burden should cause both man and wife to call on God, and should remind them of their eternal destiny in his kingdom. Earthly society is only the beginning of the heavenly society, the earthly home an image of the heavenly home, the earthly family a symbol of the fatherhood of God. […]

In a word, live together in the forgiveness of your sins, for without it no human fellowship, least of all a marriage, can survive. (31)

The Cost of Discipleship:

Thus it begins; the cross is not a terrible end to an otherwise God-fearing and happy life, but it meets us  at the beginning of our communion with Christ.  When Christ calls a man, he bids him come and die. . . .

“Rejoice and be exceeding glad: for great is your reward in heaven.” There shall the poor be seen in the halls of joy.  With his own hand God wipes away the tears from the eyes  of those who had mourned upon the earth.  He feeds the hungry at his Banquet. There stand the  scarred bodies of the martyrs, now glorified and clothed  in the white robes of eternal righteousness instead of the  rags of sin and repentance. The echoes of this joy reach  the little flock below as it stands beneath the cross,  and they hear Jesus saying: “Blessed are ye!” (99, 128)

Dietrich Beonhoeffer, as quoted in John Piper, This Momentary Marriage: A Parable of Permanence (Crossway, 2009).