Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Reflections on Bonhoeffer’s Life Together – 61

“After the day’s work has been completed, we ask for God’s blessing, peace, and preservation for the whole of Christianity…for the poor, the wretched and lonely, for the sick and dying, for our neighbors…When could we ever have a deeper awareness of God’s power and working than in the hour when we lay aside our own work and entrust ourselves to God’s faithful hands?” Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Life Together, Fortress Press, 2015 (Reader’s Edition), page 52

Bonhoeffer continues to envision Christians gathering in life together throughout the day, into the evening and night. While circumstances may preclude us from doing this every night of the week, we can seek to connect with one another through various avenues of communication – we can seek to acknowledge one another. We can also continue in our prayer for one another. The cultivation of life together is an intentional and daily effort – yes effort. We should seek how we can “exhort one another while it is called today” – not think about doing it tomorrow, not regretting that we didn’t do it yesterday – today is the day of salvation.

In the evening, as we reflect on the day in the light of the Holy Spirit and God’s Word we can keep in mind Bonhoeffer’s words, “It is a decisive rule of every Christian community that every division that the day has caused must be healed in the evening. It is perilous for the Christian to go to bed with an unreconciled heart,” (page 53).

Life together is daily koinonia; koinonia in prayer, in the Word, in encouragement, in mission. It is the life of the “we” and “us” as opposed to the life of the “I” and “me”; it is the life of the “our” and not the life of the “mine”. We are called to live the day as members one of another, preferring one another above ourselves, forbearing and forgiving. My victory must not be my concern, I must seek our victory. We are called to lay down our lives for our brothers and sisters (1 John 3:16) – this is how we know love, it is how we know life together.

Churches can program its members to death. We are not called to death via programs, we are called to life in Christ as we share life together. There is holistic health in community, there is Divine life in koinonia in Jesus Christ.

As we conclude this chapter of Life Together (The Day Together) let’s seek to be intentional in connecting with one another on a daily basis, throughout the day. A morning connection, a mid-day connection, and an evening connection. What can that look like in our lives? In my life? In your life? How can we facilitate the gathering of brothers and sisters during the week? How can we break bread together? How can we laugh and cry together? How can we encourage one another?

For the next seven days can we be intentional in touching our brothers and sisters three times a day, every day? Can life together become a way of life?

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