Life Together, one of Dietrich Bonhoeffer’s best known works, focuses on living in Christian community. Today we talk a lot about community and our need to experience the life of faith with others, like it’s a truth we’ve discovered only recently. But Bonhoeffer reminds us that this discussion has been going on for a long time.
This book is short, powerful and packed with truths to ponder. It’s deep. The fact that Bonhoeffer wrote from experience, as he helped lead an underground seminary in Germany before his arrest, adds gravitas. Throw in the fact that he was executed by the Nazis for his knowledge of a plot to kill Hitler and you get a stronger than normal ethos when it comes to an author.
I especially appreciated his thoughts on the work of ministry and the actions of the minister, be they professional or not. I’d benefit from reading it again, which I will surely do. I wholeheartedly recommend this to your time and to your library.
This section of the Great Wall of China shows its age. Many parts of the wall have been maintained or restored, but other areas give a glimpse of what time and nature do to all man-make objects.
Four guys, buddies, brought their paralyzed friend to Jesus to get Jesus to heal him. Their friend couldn’t walk, or hobble or hop. He lay flat on his back and these guys carried him, no telling how far, to Jesus, the only person who could help. The place they found Jesus was packed. When Jesus began healing people and doing miracles in public, crowds exploded. They couldn’t get anywhere close and besides, there were lots of other people in need of healing gathered in and around the building. No chance to push through, and no chance for their buddy to walk unless they could get him in front of Jesus.
What to do? They were desperate – this was their only chance! They climbed on the roof, hoisted their friend up, cut a hole in the roof right over Jesus and then lowered their friend down on ropes. These guys were undaunted. These guys were good friends. What was Jesus thinking when the dust and pieces of roof began to fall around him and he looked up to see four determined faces looking down?
First, Jesus forgives the paralyzed man’s sins. When the religious teachers object and question his authority to do so, Jesus goes ahead and totally heals the man, who stands up, grabs his mat and walks out the door. Jesus kicks it up a notch!
The crowd is amazed and exclaims, “We’ve never seen anything like this!” The paralyzed man, now fully ambulatory, helps his friends off the roof and they head home. Probably running, skipping, jumping, high-fiving, shouting and generally creating a scene.
With Jesus in the mix, anything is possible. With Jesus in the mix, you see things you’ve never seen before. Jesus is not predictable, just ask the religious teachers in this story, but Jesus is unforgettable. The man walking home with his four friends will swear to that (Mark 2:1-12).
Only the gospel will unleash altruism.