Life, “under the Word”

My senior DCE students and I are reading and discussing Bonhoeffer’s Life Together.  This is the 20th class that I have discussed this book with and each year I find it to be such a blessing of discovery.  Bonhoeffer starts off by writing, “In the following we shall consider a number of directions and precepts that the Scriptures provide us for our life together under the Word.”

The phrase, “under the Word,” really strikes me as I ponder and attempt to synthesize this past year of surgery, new adventures (CPE, Pivot Point) and the continual growth under the leadership of the Holy Spirit.  When I read about life, “under the Word,” I hear from the catechism that we receive “in, with, and under” and I come to realize and ponder that life in Christian community is both incarnational and sacramental.  God is present in the Christ-filled folk around me and they bless me in the journey.  It is through those who live with me “under the Word” that I hear the assurance of forgiveness and the promise of a new day.

Spiritual formation is about learning to live under the Word.  Under the Word implies humility and submission as the Word guides and directs our life together.  Bonhoeffer reminds us that there is no community apart from Jesus Christ.  A community founded on any other mission is not truly a community and has only a human core.

To live under the Word is certainly confessional but, in the style of Jesus, it is welcoming, inclusive, healing, uplifting and restful.  Life under the Word also leads to confrontation, truth, suffering and even aloneness.  The world outside of Christian community wants nothing to do with Christian community.

This Bonhoeffer always challenges me.  I wish I could have known him and had coffee with him.

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