“…what is an inexpressible blessing from God for the lonely individual is easily disregarded and trampled under foot by those who receive the gift every day.” -Bonhoeffer
What “inexpressible blessing” is Bonhoeffer referring to? The blessing of being able to gather together with other believers. I must confess—I often am guilty of trampling this blessing “under foot”. Bonhoeffer continues:
“It is easily forgotten that the community of Christians is a gift of grace from the kingdom of God, a gift that can be taken from us any day—that the time still separating us from the most profound loneliness may be brief indeed. Therefore, let those who until now have had the privilege of living a Christian life together with other Christians praise God’s grace from the bottom of their hearts. Let them thank God on their knees and realize: it is grace, nothing but grace, that we are still permitted to live in the community of Christians today.” p29-30 Works of Bonhoeffer, Vol. 5 Life Together .
It is sad that many—myself included—can be so jaded and disenfranchised with the gathered church that we forsake this grace. If you could but are not authentically living in a community of believers let this be a rebuke to your complacency. Also as we reflect on this selection from Bonhoeffer let us pray for those brothers and sisters in lands where no evangelical community is to be found, or their worship must be done in secret.