“The Christ in their own hearts is weaker than the Christ in the word of other Christians. Their own hearts are uncertain; those of their brothers and sisters are sure. At the same time, this also clarifies that the goal of all Christian community is to encounter one another as bringers of the message of salvation.” — Dietrich Bonhoeffer, “Life Together”
This quote was the centerpiece of my sermon on Sunday. Bonhoeffer is describing the desperate need we all have for community… at least the desperate need of those of us who hunger and thirst for a firsthand knowledge and experience of God.
As I have reflected on this quote, it has reminded me of something I believe and yet have rarely put words too. As important as it is to have our own 1-1 relationship with God (and it is), and as important as it is to cultivate that 1-1 relationship through spiritual disciplines like prayer, meditation, and Scripture reading (and it is), a 1-1 relationship with God still has limitations.
God has designed us in such a way where we can only go so far alone.
To use Bonhoeffer’s words, the Christ is our own hearts is often weaker than the Christ that is in the hearts of our brothers and sisters in faith. Of course the flip side is true too – the Christ in our own hearts is often stronger than the Christ in the hearts of our brothers and sisters in faith as well.
That is precisely why we need each other so bad.
There will be times where I am weak in my faith, or struggling with doubt, or badly in need of encouragement. There will be times where I desperately need wisdom or help seeing my problem from a different vantage point. And when those moments come, I need the Christ in you to strengthen the Christ in me. That is at the heart of the vision of community as expressed in the Bible…
[I am doing a series of blogs at the River City website… to read the rest click here]