He who loves his dream of community more than the Christian community itself becomes a destroyer of the latter, even though his personal intentions may be ever so honest and earnest and sacrificial (Bonhoeffer, Life Together, p. 15).
Sometimes its easier to love the idea of community more that the actual people around us.
We can imagine about what the community of believers should be like, could be like, would be like, and this isn’t necessarily wrong. We are always looking for deeper, more authentic ways to express who we are as the body of Christ, and how we outwork His kingdom.
However, Bonhoeffer reminds us that
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 (Life Together, p. 18).
We don’t wait to participate in community until the conditions are just right, or that irritating person has changed or moved away. We don’t wait to give until we are full ourselves. We don’t wait to love our brothers and sisters until it’s convenient, or we have the time.
It is so helpful to remember that
our community with one another consists solely in what Christ has done to both of us… I have community with others and I shall continue to have it only through Jesus Christ (Life Together, p. 14).
The only thing necessary for unity and community is relationship with Jesus. We don’t need common interests, ages, agendas, life situation, or anything else. We are called to love each other because Christ loved us first. So no one is excluded and there is no one who doesn’t count. And we find that
the exclusion of the weak and insignificant, the seemingly useless people, from a Christian community may actually mean the exclusion of Christ… we must, therefore, be very careful at this point (Life Together, p. 24).
It starts with loving, appreciating and serving the people who are right in front of us today.
- Life Together (talesofasojourner.wordpress.com)