The inner life and our gathering

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From Miroslav Volf’s After Our Likeness (p.257):

A participative model of the church requires more than just values and practices that correspond to participative institutions. The church is not first of all a realm of moral purposes; it is the anticipation, constituted by the presence of the Spirit of God, of the eschatological gathering of the entire people of God in the communion of the triune God. Hence the church needs the vivifying presence of the Spirit, and without this presence, even a church with a decentralized participative structer and culture will become sterile, and perhaps more sterile even than a hiearchical church.

For it will either have to get along without the participation of most of its members, or it wil have to operate with more subtle and open forms of coercion. Successful participative church life must be sustained by deep spirituality. Only the person who lives from the Spirit of communion (2 Cor. 13:13) can participate authentically in the life of the ecclesial community.

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