Thursday, December 20, 2007

my new friend Dietrich once said...

Sunday, February 04, 2007

my new friend Dietrich once said...

Bonhoeffer's Life Together is much better than I anticipated! Here are some nuggets... I was convicted and inspired, maybe you will be too. :)

It is not simply to be taken for granted that the Christian has the privilege of living among other Christians. So between the death of Christ and the Last Day it is only by 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 Christ in his own heart is weaker than the Christ in the word of his brother; his own heart is uncertain, his brother's is sure. The more genuine and the deeper our community becomes, the more will everything else between us recede, the more clearly Jesus Christ and his work become the one and only thing that is vital between us. Christian brotherhood is not an ideal, but a divine reality. Christian brotherhood is a spiritual and not a psychic reality. God is not a God of the emotions but the God of truth. He who loved his dream of a community more than the Christian community itself becomes a destroyer of the latter, even though his personal intentions may be ever so hones and earnest and sacrificial. God hates visionary dreaming; it makes the dreamer proud and pretentious. Because…of Jesus Christ… we enter into that common life not as demanders but as thankful recipients. When the morning mists of dreams vanish, then dawns the bright day of Christian fellowship. Only he who gives thanks for the little things receives the big things. How can God entrust great things to one who will not thankfully receive from Him the little things? 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 receive what is given to us, the more surely and steadily will fellowship increase and grow from day to day as God pleases. 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. Human love is directed to the other person for his own sake, spiritual love loves him for Christ's sake. Contrary to all my own opinions and convictions, Jesus Christ will tell me what love toward the brethren really is. Because spiritual love soes not desire but rather serves, it lives an enemy as a brother. It originates neither in the brother nor in the enemy but in Christ and his Word. Human love can never understand spiritual love, for spiritual love is from above; it is something completely strange, new, and incomprehensible to all earthly love. I must release the other person from every attempt of mine to regulate, coerce, and dominate him with my love. I must meet him only as the person he already is in Christ's eyes. ...the most direct way to others is always through prayer to Christ… Human love breeds hothouse flowers; spiritual love creates the fruits that will grow healthy in accord with God's good will in the rain and storm and sunshine of God's outdoors. Through him alone do we have access to one another, joy in one another, and fellowship with one another.

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