Fellowship

 

The world is so empty if one thinks only of mountains, rivers and cities; but to know someone here and there who thinks and feels with us, and who, though distant, is close to us in spirit, this makes the earth for us an inhabited garden.

 

Goethe

 

I want you to form the nucleus of a new community which shall start a new life amongst us - a life in which the only riches is integrity of character. So that each one may fulfill his own nature and deep desires to the utmost, but wherein though', the ultimate satisfaction and joy is in the completeness of us all as one.

 

Let us be good all together, instead of just in the privacy of our chambers, let us know that the intrinsic part of all of us is the best part, the believing part, the passionate, generous part.

 

We can all come croppers (disastrous failure), but what does it matter? We can laugh at each other, and dislike each other, but the good remains and we know it. And the new community shall be established upon the known, eternal good part of us.

 

This present community consists as far as it is a framed thing, in a myriad of contrivances for preventing us from being let down by the meanness in ourselves or in our neighbors. But it is like a motor car that is so encumbered with non-skid, non-puncture, no-burst, no-this and not-that contrivances, that it simply can't go any more. I hold this the most sacred duty - the gathering together of a number of people who shall so agree to live by the best they know, that they shall be free to live by the best they know. The ideal, the religion, must now be lived, practiced . . .

 

We must go very, very carefully at first. The great serpent to destroy is the will to Power: the desire for one man to have dominion over his fellow men. Let us have no personal influence, if possible - no personal magnetism, as they used to call it, nor persuasion - no "Follow me" - but only "Behold". And a man shall not come to save his own soul. Let his soul go to hell. He shall come because he knows that his own soul is not the be-all and the end-all, but that all souls of all things do but compose the body of God, and that God indeed shall BE.

 

D. H. Lawrence - From letter to Lady O. Morrell (1915)

 

 

To others, tragic to say, the very existence of such a Fellowship within a common Life and Love is unknown and unguessed. In its place, psychological and humanistic views of the essential sociality and gregariousness of man seek to provide a social theory of church membership. The precious word Fellowship becomes identified with a purely horizontal relation of man to man, not with that horizontal-vertical relationship of man to man in God.

 

It (fellowship) appeared in vivid form among the early Friends. . . The disclosure of God normally brings the disclosure of the Fellowship. We don't create it deliberately; we find it and we find ourselves increasingly within it as we find ourselves increasing within Him. . . We overleap the boundaries of church membership and find Lutherans and Roman Catholics, Jews and Christians, within the Fellowship. We re-read the poets and the saints, and the Fellowship is enlarged. With urgent hunger we read the Scriptures, with no thought of pious exercise, but in order to find more friends for the soul. We brush past our historical learning in the Scriptures, to seize upon those writers who lived in the Center, in the Life and in the Power. . . Time telescopes and vanishes, centuries and creeds are overleaped.

 

The relation of each to all, through God, is real, objective, existential. It is and eternal relationship which is shared in by every stick and stone and bird and beast and saint and sinner of the universe. On all, the wooing love of God fall urgently, persuadingly. But he who, having willed, yields to the loving urgency of that Life which knocks at his heart, is entered and possessed and transformed and transfigured. The scales fall form his eyes when he is given to eat of the tree of knowledge, the fruit of which is indeed for the healing of the nations.

 

Thomas R. Kelly - A Testament of Devotion

 

If I say "I", simultaneously the other's life is there. If I say "the other's life", immediately his life can be found in my life, because the contents of my life are not just my own life, but simultaneously include his life.

 

I cannot ignore his life. Very naturally we are connected. So his life is not his life, his life is my life. With supreme knowledge we can see one beautiful picture where two things are constantly interchanging.

 

This is the place in which we have to stand up. Buddha's world is always showing us the total picture where many things are interchanging constantly. I cannot exist, I cannot survive without all of you.

 

I can help because others are not other; others are the contents of my life, others are completely embraced by my life, my life can be found with other lives. At that time, I can do something with full commitment. This is called supreme knowledge.

 

Dainin Katagiri - Returning to Silence

 

"There are only two ways out of chaos," I will explain to a group after it has spent a sufficient period of time squabbling and getting nowhere. "One is into organization - but organization is never community. The only other way is into and through emptiness. . . .

 

The most common (and inter-related) barriers to communication that people need to empty themselves of before they can enter genuine community are: expectations and preconception; prejudices; ideology, theology, and solutions; the need to heal, convert, fix or solve; and the need to control.

 

M. Scott Peck - A Different Drum

 

Each by its self has profound pitfalls and perils. One who wants fellowship without solitude plunges into the void of words and feeling, and one who seeks solitude without fellowship perishes in the abyss of vanity, self infatuation, and despair.

 

Furthermore, this is the place where we find out whether the Christian's meditation has led him into the unreal, from which he awakens in terror when he returns to the workaday world, or whether it has led him into a real contact with God, from which he emerges strengthened and purified. Has it transported him for a moment into a spiritual ecstasy that vanishes when everyday life returns, or has it lodged the word of God so securely and deeply in his heart that it holds and fortifies him, impelling him to active love, to obedience to good works? Only the day can decide.

Bonhoeffer - Life Together