I just finished reading Dietrich Bonhoeffer’s classic work on Christian community, Life Together. It was fantastic, I wish I had read it ten years ago. This book should be must read for seminary students (why wasn’t I forced to read it in seminary?). Over the next few weeks, I plan to share quotes from the book that especially struck me.
The book is about Christian community. Lest we think this is something merely spiritual, Bonhoeffer emphasizes the beauty of physical presence. Here is Bonhoeffer on the yearning for the physical presence of another person:
A human being is created as a body; the Son of God appeared on earth in the body for our sake and was raised in the body. In the sacrament the believer receives the Lord Christ in the body, and the resurrection of the dead will bring about the perfected community of God’s spiritual-physical creatures. Therefore, the believer praises the Creator, the Reconciler and the Redeemer, God the Father, Son and Holy Spirit, for the bodily presence of the other Christian. The prisoner, the sick person, the Christian living in the diaspora recognizes in the nearness of a fellow Christian a physical sign of the gracious presence of the triune God. In their loneliness, both the visitor and the one visited recognize in each other the Christ who is present in the body. They receive and meet each other as one meets the Lord, in reverence, humility, and joy. They receive each other’s blessings as the blessing
God created matter, human bodies, and declared them good. Bodies, and creation in general, remain a good thing. Let’s not forget this.