“We have one another only through Christ, but through Christ we really do have one another.” Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Life Together, Fortress Press, 2015 (Reader’s Edition), page 9.
Bonhoeffer believes that the foundation of our community, of our life together, is “what Christ has done to both of us.” If that is true, then it isn’t found in shared interests, in a common ethnicity, in education, in politics, or even our growth in Christ or doctrinal emphasis and understanding. Koinonia is found in Jesus Christ – period.
Bonhoeffer views life together as eternal, he sees community reaching into “all the future and into all eternity…We have one another completely and for all eternity.” Do we see this eternal view in the professing church? Do we view one another as eternal companions in Jesus Christ?
Bonhoeffer observes that if Christ is the foundation of our life together, if our life together is forever and always to be in Him, then when we want something more than what Jesus Christ has given us that we have a problem – we have an internal threat to life together. People look for what Bonhoeffer calls “extraordinary experiences” in the church that they did not experience outside the church. People confuse true community, community with real men and real women and real children with an image they have of what Christian community should be, and when they don’t get what they want, when they can’t convince others to be the way they think they should be – then there is discontent and poison in the community. This is one reason why it is critical to be focused on Jesus Christ, to see one another in Christ, to encourage one another in Christ, and to encounter one another as Christ encounters us.
Just as Jesus should be (and is) enough for my salvation, so Jesus should be enough (and He is) for our life together. We can find definition and description of what life together should look like in the Scriptures, both descriptive and prescriptive – but they are to be read and interpreted within our community in Jesus Christ, with Jesus always being the focal point, always our object of worship, always our Lord. We are to encounter others as Christ encounters us.