Be Church Together

Be Church Together

Be church
The writing prompt today from Five Minutes Friday was ‘together’. My immediate association was Dietrich Bonhoeffer’s wonderful but challenging book Life Together: The Classic Exploration of Faith in Community. Bonhoeffer teaches us how to be church together, how to live out faith the original way.

Faith is not just an individual affair, no matter how much we would like to be independent.
Faith is not just a communal affair, no matter how much we would like to keep it social.

With the words of Bonhoeffer “Let him who cannot be alone beware of community… Let him who is not in community beware of being alone… Each by itself has profound perils and pitfalls. One who wants fellowship without solitude plunges into the void of words and feelings, and the one who seeks solitude without fellowship perishes in the abyss of vanity, self-infatuation and despair.”

Much to think about.
Much to pray about.

The way God designed our bodies is a model for understanding our lives together as a church: every part dependent on every other part, the parts we mention and the parts we don’t, the parts we see and the parts we don’t. If one part hurts, every other part is involved in the hurt, and in the healing. If one part flourishes, every other part enters into the exuberance. (1 Cor 12: 25-26, MSG)

We are meant to be church together and there is a purpose for every member. Not only the weak need the strong but the strong also need the weak. When we live together, we experience Jesus in our midst.

Bonhoeffer writes “Christian brotherhood is not an ideal which we must realize; it is rather a reality created by God in Christ in which we may participate. The more clearly we learn to recognize that the ground and strength and promise of all our fellowship is in Jesus Christ alone, the more serenely shall we think of our fellowship and pray and hope for it.”

Any community of believers is a gift from God. In all its difficulties and challenges. We need to remember that Christ brings everything together. Not only a broken heart but also a community. Not only a congregation today but the whole salvation history.

Bonhoeffer continues “Christian community is like the Christian’s sanctification. It is a gift of God which we cannot claim. Only God knows the real state of our fellowship, of our sanctification. What may appear weak and trifling to us may be great and glorious to God. Just as the Christian should not be constantly feeling his spiritual pulse, so, too, the Christian community has not been given to us by God for us to be constantly taking its temperature. The more thankfully we daily receive what is given to us, the more surely and steadily will fellowship increase and grow from day to day as God pleases.”

We are called to embrace Christ as well as the body of Christ. We are called to receive and live in grace as an individual and as a member of the body of Christ. We are called to be church together. To love and to hold. For better and worse. Now and forever.

 

Gracious God,
Show us what it means to be church.
Show us what it means that you live in the midst of us.
Show us what it means to love each others as you love us.
Show us how to live out the resurrection joy.
Show us how to be church.
In Jesus’ name,
Amen

Q4U: What does being a member of the body of Christ affect you?

Be blessed, my fellow pilgrim, as you live out faith together with the body of Christ!

Photo courtesy of Kendall Conner. Linking up today with Faith-filled Fridays and Five Minute Fridays.

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