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Question 1. Consider Church. 500-750 words. 15 points.
The church is fundamentally those who believe in God and Christ. At its worst, it is sinners who lose their way. Sin and division are as much a part of the church as any group of people. Time and again however, God has intervened in the life of the church and transformed the lost group of sinners into thecommunion (real food and real drink) that the present generation needs. This is how the church becomes God’s good news in every generation, and it happens by the power of the Holy Spiritwhen sinners consent to grace and mercy. Examine and contemplate the following paragraph on the common life of the church. Use it, then, along with your knowledge of God’s justice, to explain how the church, in authentic communion,performs God’s justice in the world.
God is the source of life. On him and through him, our common life is built up and led time and again through cataclysmic struggles to final victory. It is an exceedingly dangerous way, a way of deep suffering. It is a way that leads straight into the struggle for existence and the reality of a life of work, into all the difficulties created by the human character. And yet, just this is our deepest joy: to see clearly the eternal struggle – the indescribable tension between life and death, man’s position between heaven and hell – and still to believe in the overwhelming power of life, the power of love to overcome, and the triumph of truth, because we believe in God. (From Eberhard Arnold, Why We Live in Community).
Question 2. Consider Faith. 500-750 words. 15 points.
Servais Pinckaers says that the Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 5-7) “gradually reveals to us the feelings, the soul, the spiritual face of Christ.” It also “reveals the Holy Spirit’s designs for us… the features of [Christ’s] face which the Spirit would reproduce in us, so as to reshape and conform us to the image and likeness of the Son of God” (18-19). First, use one of the beatitudes, perhaps the one you presented on but really the one that makes most sense to you, to show how God’s word in sacred scripture “penetrates us with the power of the Holy Spirit in order to break up our interior soil…to prepare a place within us for the seed of new life” (36). Secondly, why is faith not a theory, dogma, system of ideas, cult or organization, but receiving God himself especially when, from a human point of view, the foundations of trust have been destroyed.