“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.”Bonhoeffer Life Together p30
Our connection with fellow brothers and sisters in Christ is a reality created by God. God has united us to each other in Christ, and this bond transcends the common grounds of hobbies, personality types, sports, politics, and geographical locations. It is a cosmic reality which God has brought into being and is true regardless of our feelings.
As we let this sink in, our attitude and view toward being in fellowship changes: I don’t have to strive to find a ‘feeling’ of unity, but I am already united to my brother or sister in Christ; I don’t have to find a special way to connect with another believer, but I already am connected in way that is greater than any of my efforts. My fellowship is the result of Christ’s work, not my organizational ability or efforts at creating a cohesive circle of Christian friends. Now I can press deeper into a reality that cannot be shaken, pray for a richer experience of this in my everyday life, and take hope that God is continuing to unite me with other brothers and sisters as He brings them into the Kingdom of God.
2 replies on “Christian Brotherhood: A Reality Created by God (Bonhoeffer)”
Great message, Tom.
I’m used to talking about not being guided by feelings in regard to life choices, but your post accentuates another equally-important and often-forgotten truth, i.e., in our relation to God (and by extension, His Church), it also is an objective reality regardless of whether or not we feel it or can see it. Like everything else, it’s all His gracious work.
Yeah I think realizing that our feeling do not determine reality or how we must make decisions is truly liberating, and especially so here in fellowship. If I believe that I am united to my brothers and sisters in Christ because of an objective reality outside of myself, then this reality defines my relation to them. Letting this sink in frees me to share my heart with others and to appreciate more deeply those around me.