Monday, September 19, 2016

Reflections on Bonhoeffer’s Life Together – 60

“The day belongs to God alone. Hence in the middle of the day, the Christian community of faith gathers and lets God invite them to the table.” Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Life Together, Fortress Press, 2015 (Reader’s Edition), page 51.

Bonhoeffer envisions Christians sharing life together gathering in the morning, at noon, and in the evening. While this is a challenge in our society, it is also a goal to which we ought to strive. Even if we cannot physically always gather at these times, we can gather more than just on Sundays and we can strive to incorporate koinonia into our daily lives by prayer, phone calls, other forms of communication (and less personal in the sense that nothing is as personal as being together or as the human voice) – and we can do our best to meet with one another during the day as often as possible. This can be for breakfast, for lunch, or for an afternoon coffee – as well as in the evening.  

When we do not gather, when we do not meet with one another, we are saying that the body of Christ is not vital to our lives – we are saying that we can live without fellowship, we are saying that the demands of this present age take precedence over our brothers and sisters…over our Lord Jesus Christ. When we quote Hebrews about not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, and think that the author is writing about an hour on Sunday morning – we deceive ourselves. The writer of Hebrews is speaking of living in the Holy of Holies as people who have been made pure by the blood of Jesus, who are living in the presence of God in full assurance of faith, stimulating one another to love and good deeds and encouraging one another. This is a way of life that is to be lived every day, it is a way of life that is to be The Way of Life Together in Christ and with and in one another in Christ. Such a life cannot survive on one or two hours a week of Bread and Wine and Water and Word. While we may not live in communes we can live in community – indeed we must if we are to preserve the testimony of Jesus Christ in this generation.

When I take time for my brothers and sisters during the day I am saying to them and to the world, “You are important to me. You are important to Christ.” If the measure of my day is limited to productivity, to the “things” I do at work or at home, then I have missed my calling to worship God and testify that “the day belongs to God”. Better not to receive the promotion of man if it means that I am not encouraging and nurturing the body of Christ.

If the “day belongs to God alone,” then not one hour, not one minute, not one moment, belongs to me. God has entrusted His day to me as His steward – will I be faithful to Him? Will I be a thief and steal that which belongs to God, or will I hold in trust the hours and minutes and moments and offer them up to Him for His glory?

When we are too busy for the people of God we are too busy.

How can we connect with our brothers and sisters during the day? How can we encourage them?

“The day belongs to God alone.”

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