40 Day Journey with Dietrich Bonhoeffer – Day 31

Day 31 ====== Offering intercessory prayer means nothing other than Christians bringing one another into the presence of God, seeing each other under the cross of Jesus as poor human beings and sinners in need of grace. Then, everything about other people that repels me falls away. Then I see them in all their need, hardship, and distress. Their need and their sin become so heavy and oppressive to me that I feel as if they were my own, and I Continue Reading

40 Day Journey with Dietrich Bonhoeffer – Day 30

Day 30 ====== A Christian community either lives by the intercessory prayers of its members for one another, or the community will be destroyed. I can no longer condemn or hate other Christians for whom I pray, no matter how much trouble they cause me. In intercessory prayer the face that may have been strange and intolerable to me is transformed into the face of one for whom Christ died, the face of a pardoned sinner. That is a blessed Continue Reading

40 Day Journey with Dietrich Bonhoeffer – Day 29

Day 29 ====== Third, we speak of the service involved in bearing with others. “Bear one another’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ” (Gal. 6:2). Thus the law of Christ is a law of forbearance. Forbearance means enduring and suffering. The other person is a burden to the Christian, in fact for the Christian most of all. The other person never becomes a burden at all for the pagans. They simply stay clear of every Continue Reading

40 Day Journey with Dietrich Bonhoeffer – Day 28

Day 28 ====== The other service one should perform for another person in a Christian community is active helpfulness. To begin with, we have in mind simple assistance in minor, external matters. There are many such things wherever people live together. Nobody is too good for the lowest service. Those who worry about the loss of time entailed by such small, external acts of helpfulness are usually taking their own work too seriously. We must be Continue Reading

40 Day Journey with Dietrich Bonhoeffer – Day 27

Day 27 ====== (When Bonhoeffer speaks of community, he means any gathering of Christians, including the family.) The first service one owes to others in the community involves listening to them. Just as our love for God begins with listening to God’s Word, the beginning of love for other Christians is learning to listen to them. … We do God’s work for our brothers and sisters when we learn to listen to them. So often Christians, especially Continue Reading

40 Day Journey with Dietrich Bonhoeffer – Day 26

Day 26 ====== Whoever cannot be alone should beware of community. Such people will only do harm to themselves and to the community. Alone you stood before God when God called you. Alone you had to obey God’s voice. Alone you had to take up your cross, struggle, and pray and alone you will die and give an account to God. You cannot avoid yourself, for it is precisely God who has singled you out. If you do not want to be alone, you are rejecting Continue Reading

40 Day Journey with Dietrich Bonhoeffer – Day 25

Day 25 ====== Christians are persons who no longer seek their salvation, their deliverance, their justification in themselves, but in Jesus Christ alone. They know that God’s Word in Jesus Christ pronounces them guilty, even when they feel nothing of their own guilt, and that God’s Word in Jesus Christ pronounces them free and righteous even when they feel nothing of their own righteousness… Because they daily hunger and thirst for Continue Reading

40 Day Journey with Dietrich Bonhoeffer – Day 24

Day 24 ====== Every human idealized image that is brought into the Christian community is a hindrance to genuine community and must be broken up so that genuine community can survive. Those who love their dream of a Christian community more than the Christian community itself become destroyers of that Christian community even though their personal intentions may be ever so honest, earnest, and sacrificial… Those who dream of this idealized Continue Reading

40 Day Journey with Dietrich Bonhoeffer – Day 23

Day 23 ====== There is probably no Christian to whom God has not given the uplifting and blissful experience of genuine Christian community at least once in her or his life. But in this world such experiences remain nothing but a gracious extra beyond the daily bread of Christian community life. We have no claim to such experiences, and we do not live with other Christians for the sake of gaining such experiences. It is not the experience of Continue Reading

40 Day Journey with Dietrich Bonhoeffer – Day 22

Day 22 ====== The measure with which God gives the gift of visible community is varied. Christians who live dispersed from one another are comforted by a brief visit of another Christian, a prayer together, and another Christian’s blessing. Indeed, they are strengthened by letters written by the hand of other Christians. Paul’s greetings in his letters written in his own hand were no doubt tokens of such community. Others are given the gift Continue Reading