01 June 2006

"'Roses and Lilies' of the Christian Life"

These excerpts from Life Together by Dietrich Bonhoeffer really resonate with me today. Affectionately dedicated to my roommates, old and new!

Between the death of Christ and the Last Day, it is only by a gracious anticipation of the last things that Christians are privileged to live in visible fellowship with other Christians. ...

The physical presence of other Christians is a source of incomparable joy and strength to the believer. ...

The believer feels no shame, as though he were still living too much in the flesh, when he yearns for the physical presence of other Christians. Man was created a body, and the Son of Man appeared on earth in the body, he was raised in the body, in the sacrament the believer receives the Lord Christ in the body, and the resurrection of the dead will bring about the perfected fellowship of God's spiritual-physical creatures. The believer therefore lauds the Creator, the Redeemer, God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit, for the bodily presence of a brother. The prisoner, the sick person, the Christian in exile sees in the companionship of a fellow Christian a physical sign of the gracious presence of the triune God. Visitor and visited in loneliness recognize in each other the Christ who is present in the body; they receive and meet each other as one meets the Lord, in reverence, humility, and joy. They receive each other's benedictions as the benediction of the Lord Jesus Christ. But if there is so much blessing and joy even in a single encounter of brother with brother, how inexhaustible are the riches that open up for those who by God's will are privileged to live in the daily fellowship of life with other Christians!

It is true, of course, that what is an unspeakable gift of God for the lonely individual is easily disregarded and trodden under foot by those who have the gift every day. It is easily forgotten that the fellowship of Christian brethren is a gift of grace, a gift of the Kingdom of God that any day may be taken from us, that the time that still separates us from utter loneliness may be brief indeed. Therefore, let him who until now has had the privilege of living a common Christian life with other Christians praise God's grace from the bottom of his heart. Let him thank God on his knees and declare: It is grace, nothing but grace, that we are allowed to live in Christian community.

5 comments:

Donald Philip Simpson said...

Let me be the first to say... "Ahhhhh...."

Kelli said...

How appropriate for you to be first (only), DPS! I think you have a real gift for fostering authentic Christian community. Just my two cents! Enjoy that cool weather!

Donald Philip Simpson said...

Oh, I am!! It is suppose to get into the low 70s by next week with the lows still in the low 50s at night.

Kelli said...

Wow. Just keep rubbin' it in, buddy!

Anonymous said...

baby face,
isn't it the truth. It strikes me that the sacrement seems to continue to increase in realised importance perhaps for both of us and it is so dear to hear your acknowledgement of its place in christian community. I know you were primamrily talking about fellowship but imediatly my mind flew to a moment no more than a day ago, a sacrement, which has been a dazzling stone of great worth amidst the somwhat musty past week. Forgive my poor grammer and bad writting and such but I just want to take it easy with you my sweet one. What I wouldn't give to snuggle with you on that nasty old gnat infested couch right now! Anyway, let me just tell you a little bit about Yesterday morning. Twas church, conservative and tinged with familiarity which can be easily mistakend for frustrating but MUST not be. The saddening ease of my acrid thoughts was much relieved by the continual pressence of a rosy cheeked, tender eyed little 6 year old second cousin by the golden name of Grant. Indeed, it was his small and pure worship which the Lord used to bring me into His faltey, fleshy, and forgiven flock this Sunday. For at the side of a child wholy connected to the peace and trust community is priveleged to accompany can one help but stand (or sit as one may) utterly humbled by the awe of together participating in He, the one we doubtlessly love, don't understand but adore, deligthed to look at one another and know its true even if it is too hard to explain really. OH Kelligh, forever a gift, I love you dearly.
your bonnie bo
ps. I'm working at a sporting goods store selling fishing and hunting licences, surrounded by a TON of merchendise I understand less than German!