The Community of Jesus
Purpose and Vision
Firstly it is important to address the question of what, in the context of the Community of Jesus, is meant by the term “Community”. It is helpful here to have an historical perspective. The Holy Spirit has been at work in the Church throughout the centuries, and at certain points has manifested His presence in a specific way. This is the origin of many of the Monastic Movements such as the Franciscans, the fruit of the Holy Spirit’s working in a particular manner at a particular time.
In the 1960s and 70s a fresh outpouring of the Holy Spirit was evidenced in the main line Churches, in what has come to be called the Charismatic Movement. For the Roman Catholic Church one consequence was the coming into being of many different groups, each expressing an emphasis or “charism” of the Holy Spirit. Birthed of the Spirit, these groups have become collectively known as the “New Communities” and have sometimes been described as “a new monasticism but in the world". Charismatic, and usually lay-led, these New Communities take many different forms worldwide. The Community of Jesus has a particular call to work for the unity and reconciliation of the Church so that She might be a more effective witness to Jesus Christ (John 17:20-23) and fulfill the Great Commission. (Matthew 28:18-20)
The outworking of this call stems from the belief that the basis for our unity in the Church is located in the outpouring of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost on all believers. The Church’s task is to recognize and maintain that unity, not seek to create it. Thus the unity of the Spirit is something the Church has been given and is based on our all sharing in the one Spirit. We are called to walk in the fellowship of the Spirit with all those who have been baptized in that same Spirit (1Cor 12:13), whilst working towards the unity of the faith. The Community of Jesus seeks to encourage the different parts of the Body of Christ to discover and walk together in this fellowship of the Holy Spirit. This is done through the fostering of friendships, informal meetings and wider gatherings.
Some key characteristics of walking the path of unity and reconciliation are a willingness to listen and learn, a dispelling of ignorance, humility, a servant heart, forbearance when there is disagreement, and repentance and forgiveness as the Spirit leads.
Such a walk is costly but will bear fruit as the Church better reflects the unity found in the Trinity and has a greater integrity in her witness to the world. There will be an increased prophetic dimension as the Church readies herself for the Marriage Feast of the Lamb as the One Bride, and a deeper experience of the blessing of the Lord promised to brothers who dwell together in unity.