The Privilege of Church

Dietrich Bonhoeffer’s classic work Life Together has been transformational in my own journey as a Christian living in relationship to the Church. It is I marked up a copy of the book many years ago, and have returned to it again and have enjoyed reading it along with some of you who are congregational care ministers, deacons, and executive board members. The little book leaves me longing and grateful for spiritual community, and challenges me to invest my life deeply in the Church. Here are a few highlights that might bless and challenge you too!

“We enter into our common life not as demanders, but as thankful recipients.”

“Christian brotherhood and sisterhood is not an ideal which we must realize, but rather a reality created by God in Christ in which we may participate.”

“We have one another only through Christ, but through Christ we have one another wholly, and for all eternity.”

“The physical presence of other Christians is a source of incomparable joy and strength, because they bear for me the living presence of the Triune God.”

“The one who loves their dream of a community more than the Christian community itself becomes a destroyer of the latter, even though their personal intentions may be ever so honest and earnest and sacrificial.”

“Let the one who cannot be alone beware of community, and let the one who is not in community beware of being alone.”

“Strong and weak, wise and foolish, gifted or ungifted, pious or impious, the diverse individuals in the community are no longer incentives for talking about and judging and condemning, and thus excuses for self-justification. They are rather cause for rejoicing in one another and serving one another.”

“Once someone has experienced the mercy of God in their life, they will henceforth aspire only to serve.”
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Here, just a few examples. This summer I encourage you to take a long, slow reading of this spiritual masterpiece, and let it work on your spirit. And I pray that it would cause you a renewed love for the Church, and your brothers and sisters, and the life together we share! Grace and Peace.

Pete Hawkinson

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