The Gift of Community

Since chapel yesterday I’ve been thinking on the life of Christian community. Whenever I get to thinking about this, my mind goes to Dietrich Bonhoeffer’s book Life Together. In particular, I often think of this passage, which I’ve shared before:

Innumerable times a whole Christian community has broken down because it had sprung from a wish dream. The serious Christian, set down for the first time in a Christian community, is likely to bring with them a very definite idea of what Christian life together should be and to try to realize it. But God’s grace speedily shatters such dreams [….] Whoever loves their dream of a community more than the Christian community itself becomes a destroyer of the latter, even though their personal intentions may be ever so honest and earnest and sacrificial. (26-27)

I was reminded of this passage again as I was reading Henri Nouwen on solitude:

In solitude we become aware that we were together before we came together and that life is not a creation of our will but rather an obedient response to the reality of our being united [….] In solitude we indeed experience that community is not made but given. (Clowning in Rome, 14, 13.)


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