Faith in Community 2b

27 04 2008

Continuing where we left off in Bonhoeffer’s Life Together we finish the second chapter called “The Day with Others”

The Days Work

Work is of necessity part of our life. Consequently, neither work nor prayer should hinder each other. Dietrich goes on to suggest that where each have their proper place in life, they are not mutually exclusive, but rather inseparable.

Work is about the the physical world of things, of “its.” Our challenge as Christians is to break through the “it” of things and into the “Thou” of God in our work. Prayer and work eventually become more and more integrated into our day, and it is only then we can really know what it means to “pray without ceasing” as it says in the New Testament. When we can find or see God in our work, so then prayer becomes a part of work. “Every word, every work, every labor of a Christian becomes a prayer, no in the unreal sense of a constant turning away from the task, but in a real breaking through the hard ‘it’ to the gracious ‘Thou.'” (p71)

Work will always be called work (there’s a punchline to a joke which says “it’s called work for a reason!”) but our patience and energy will increase the more we have integrated prayer into our daily lives.

Noonday and Evening

Noon is a brief rest from the day. Typically, we have lunch. We shouldn’t think that we work for food but rather how our meals are gifts from God. At noon, we eat. Out of the seven hours of the Church and the Psalter, the Church at noon praises God in Trinity. Ironically enough, this is also the time the Gospels tell us the sky darkened while Jesus was on the Cross and the work of Atonement was completed.

Again, we eat at evening (anyone ever noticed that a lot of the Bible is about nourishment?) Also, as night begins to fall, the light of God’s word could be said to shine brighter for the Church. At Evening Prayer, we remember our blessings and petition God to bless others and forgive us of our own trespasses. Here we must take time to reconcile ourselves to God and humankind for what has been done to us and what we have done to others.

It is also a time to get ready for sleep. Our bodies might slumber during the night but in our hearts remain awake (we hope!) and alert to God’s movement. Sometimes that movement wakes us up and we say like the boy Samuel, “Speak, Lord for your servant is listening.”

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