I am reading Life Together after taking a class by Dr. Andrew Root at Luther Seminary last fall. In this class Dr. Root outlined and intensified his book Relationships Unfiltered a “follow-up” book to Revisiting Relational Youth Ministry. Throughout this intensive class there was discussion on Bonhoeffer and his book Discipleship was on the assigned reading list. (I highly recommend all of the previously mentioned books.) So my interest in Bonhoeffer was peaked. Life Together seemed like another book that would provide some interesting theological thought on how we live together with others as a Christian.
Although the later part of the book wasn’t as intriguing to me as I had first hoped, the first section of the book speaks to how we can be in community with others through and in Christ.
Here is a quote from Life Together that sticks out to me.
“Without Christ there is discord between God and man and between man and man. Christ became the Mediator and made peace with God and among men. Without Christ we should not know God, we could not call upon Him, nor come to Him. But without Christ we also would not know our brother, nor could we come to him. The way is blocked by our own ego. Christ opened up the way to God and to our brother.”
Every conversation, relationship, interaction we have is opened because of Christ. “The way is blocked by our own ego.” This statement made me think more about how I interact with others, the relationships I have with others. To me the most authentic conversations or relationships I have had or have now are with people where my ego is left to the side. It’s not about me, but more about them, or more about just being. Not trying to fix, or help them fix anything. It’s not about how I can insert my own thoughts and ideas into the conversation. It’s about hearing and listening to others, to truly know our “brothers”.
Now of course this is not always an easy task as my ego is often times bigger than I know. But I trust and I’m hopeful that Christ is working within me to help me change the focus from myself to Him, so that I may see others as God sees me through Christ.
I’m not sure I fully understand or recognize the full extent that Christ is in the relationships with my wife and children, my co-workers and the youth that I work with, but it is certainly exciting to think of what Christ is doing with us and through us when we are in relationship with others.
Questions to ponder:
What does it mean to you that “without Christ we also would not know our brother, nor could we come to him”?
Where do you see Christ in your relationships with others?