Friday, December 03, 2004

The Blessing of Community

When God was merciful to us, we learned to be merciful with our brothers. When we received forgiveness instead of judgment, we, too, were made ready to forgive our brothers. What God did to us, we then owed to others . . . .

The sooner this shock of disillusionment comes to an individual & to a community the better for both. A community which cannot bear and cannot survive such a crisis, which insisits upon keeping its illusion when it should be shattered, permanently loses in that moment the promise of Christian community. . . .

He who love his dream of community more than the Christian community itself becomes a destroyer of the latter, even though his personal intentions may be evers so honest and earnest and sacrificial.

Human love is directed to the other person for his own sake, spiritual love loves him for Christ's sake. Therefore, human love seeks direct contact with the other peson; it loves him not as a free person but as one whom it binds to itself. It wants to gain, to capture by every means; it uses force. It desires to be irresistible to rule . . . .

This is why human love becomes personal hatred when it encounters genuine spiritual love, which does not desire but serves.

Because spiritual love does not desire but rather serves, it loves an enemy as a brother.

Thus spiritual love will speak to Christ about a brother more than to a brother about Christ.

"How good & pleasant it is when brothers live together in unity! . . . For there the Lord bestows his blessing, even life forevermore!" This is the Scripture's praise for life together under the Word. But now we can rightly interpret the words "in unity" and say "for brothers to live together through Christ." For Jesus Christ alone is our unity. "He is our peace." Through him alone do we have access to one another, joy in one another, and fellowship in one another.

(taken from Life Together by Dietrich Bonhoeffer)


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