8.17.2010

Wish dreams and ugly things.

Sometimes you read something and it stirs a little piece of your soul, but you can't really figure out why just yet, so you file it away for another day when perhaps it will make better sense.

Other times, you read something and BAM! Right then and there, you are moved on the spot and you know precisely why and feel like that very thing--small or insignificant as it may be--was written just for you. Right then. At that exact moment in your life.

For me, this is one of the latter.

Excerpts from Life Together by Dietrich Bonhoeffer. Emphasis mine.

"Innumerable times a whole Christian community is 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 him 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. Just as surely as God desires to lead us to a knowledge of genuine Christian fellowship, so surely must we be overwhelmed by a great disillusionment with others, with Christians in general, and, if we are fortunate, with ourselves.

By sheer grace, God will not permit us to live even for a brief period in a dream world...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. The sooner this shock of disillusionment comes to an individual and to a community the better for both. A community which cannot bear and cannot survive such a crisis, which insists upon keeping its illusion when it should be shattered, permanently loses in that moment the promise of Christian community. Sooner or later it will collapse...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.

...Because God has already laid the only foundation of our fellowship, because God has bound us together in one body with other Christians in Jesus Christ, long before we entered into common life with them, we enter into that common life not as demanders but as thankful recipients...We do not complain of what God does not give us; we rather thank God for what He does give us daily. And is not what has been given us enough...?

...We think we dare not be satisfied with the small measure of spiritual knowledge, experience, and love that has been given to us, and that we must constantly be looking forward eagerly for the highest good...We pray for the big things and forget to give thanks for the ordinary, small (and yet really not small) gifts. How can God entrust great things to one who will not thankfully receive from Him the little things? If we do not give thanks daily for the Christian fellowship in which we have been placed, even where there is no great experience, no discoverable riches, but much weakness, small faith and difficulty; if on the contrary, we only keep complaining to God that everything is so paltry and petty, so far from what we expected, then we hinder God from letting our fellowship grow according to the measure and riches which are there for us all in Jesus Christ."

2 comments:

Sarah said...

I really like this and wish we could take a couple hours to discuss it!! but i want to know then what happens when the disillusionment is a result of rooted sin within the community...is it to provoke that disillusionment or is it something else entirely?? and when can we chat?

Sara said...

Check your email. :) Love you! Can't wait to discuss...EVERYTHING!!!