The Glorious Incarnation ~ The Mystery

“The lack of mystery in our modern life is our downfall and our poverty. A human life is worth as much as the respect it holds for the mystery. We retain the child in us to the extent that we honor the mystery. Therefore, children have open, wide-awake eyes, because they know that they are surrounded by the mystery. They are not yet finished with this world; they still don’t know how to struggle along and avoid the mystery, as we do. We destroy the mystery because we sense that here we reach the boundary of our being, because we want to be lord over everything and have it at our disposal, and that’s just what we cannot do with the mystery…. Living without mystery means knowing nothing of the mystery of our own life, nothing of the mystery of another person, nothing of the mystery of the world; it means passing over our own hidden qualities and those of others and the world. It means remaining on the surface, taking the world seriously only to the extent that it can be calculated and exploited, and not going beyond the world of calculation and exploitation. Living without mystery means not seeing the crucial processes of life at all and even denying them.”

~ Dietrich Bonhoeffer, God Is in the Manger: Reflections on Advent and Christmas

Greedy Eyes

“Waiting is an art that our impatient age has forgotten. It wants to break open the ripe fruit when it has hardly finished planting the shoot. But all too often the greedy eyes are only deceived; the fruit that seemed so precious is still green on the inside, and disrespected hands ungratefully toss aside what has so disappointed them.”

~ Dietrich Bonhoeffer, God Is in the Manger: Reflections on Advent and Christmas

The Glorious Incarnation ~ His Wonders

Only the humble believe him and rejoice that God is so free and so marvelous that he does wonders where people despair, that he takes what is little and lowly and makes it marvelous. And that is the wonder of all wonders, that God loves the lowly…. God is not ashamed of the lowliness of human beings. God marches right in. He chooses people as his instruments and performs his wonders where one would least expect them. God is near to lowliness; he loves the lost, the neglected, the unseemly, the excluded, the weak and broken.

~ Dietrich Bonhoeffer, God Is in the Manger: Reflections on Advent and Christmas

Bonhoeffer – A Reliable Guide?

10 Things Bonhoeffer Taught Us About ‘Life Together’

Paul identifies Christ and the church-community

by Dietrich Bonhoeffer

Christ personifies the new humanity, and the Christian community is about the restoration and consummation of the created sociality of humanity.

Paul repeatedly identifies Christ and the church-community. Where the body of Christ is, there Christ truly is. Christ is in the church-community, as the church-community is in Christ. To be in Christ is synonymous with to be in the church-community.

The church is the presence of Christ the same way that Christ is the presence of God.

In and through Christ the church is established in reality. It is not as if Christ could be abstracted from the church; rather, it is none other than Christ who is the church.

~  Sanctorum Communio: A Theological Study of the Sociology of the Church (Dietrich Bonhoeffer Works, Vol. 1

Bonhoeffer on Community

by Chris Freet at Amplified Life blog

Community is more than just a buzzword for the church today and throughout all time. Community is who believers are through Jesus Christ. We are the community of Christ, His body, His hands and feet, His priesthood, His family. There is no such thing as a “lone-ranger Christian” anywhere in the pages of the New Testament. To love Christ is to love His church because He is the head of the church. Thus, one cannot say, “I love Jesus but I do not have to gather with the church.” That is a paradox, an oxymoron, or something like that.

I have recently begun to read Dietrich Bonhoeffer’s classic Life Together. As I read through it I will be sharing some quotes that I think are particularly insightful and helpful. Here are a few from the early pages:

My brother…is that other person who has been redeemed by Christ, delivered from his sin, and called to faith and eternal life. Not what a man is in himself as a Christian, his spirituality and piety, constitutes the basis of our community. What determines our brotherhood is what that man is by reason of Christ. – pg. 25

One who wants more than what Christ has established does not want Christian brotherhood. – pg. 26

God is not a God of the emotions but the God of truth. Only that fellowship which faces such disillusionment, with all its unhappy and ugly aspects,, begins to be what it should be in God’s sight, begins to grasp in faith the promise that is given to it. Th sooner this shock of disillusionment comes to an individual and to a community the better for both…He who loves 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 honest and earnest and sacrificial. – pg. 27

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. – pg. 30

Community is God’s intention for His people, but it is real, messy, authentic and never as clean as we may ideally think it should be or like it to be. People are hurt, fallen, messy, etc. because life is like that. But Christ became one of us anyway. Real community looks at it all and becomes incarnational as our Lord, the Incarnate One, became like those He came to save. This is real community, warts and all.

10 Things Bonhoeffer Taught Us About ‘Life Together’

Bonhoeffer on the Christian Life

7 Reasons Some Churches Don’t Grow