Saturday, February 28, 2015

Christian Fellowship Is a Gift of Grace

Tonight I'm reading some documents that Payne Theological Seminary has sent to me regarding teaching spiritual formation course online. I get to be part of developing this at Payne, and am so thankful for the opportunity. 

One of the documents is "Spiritual Formation in Theological Distance Education: An Ecosystems Model," by Stephen Lowe and Mary Lowe. Lowe uses the ecosystem model of Uri Bronfenbrenner and others to establish the power of and need for authentic Christian community in transforming our hearts into greater and greater Christlikeness. 

While reading I found myself thinking how thankful I am that I get to be with my Jesus community tomorrow morning at Redeemer. I felt led to pull out Dietrich Bonhoeffer's beautiful book Life Together, and came to this:

"It is easily forgotten that the fellowship of Christian brethren is a gift of grace, a gift of the Kingdom of God that any day may be taken from us, that the time that still separates us from utter loneliness may be brief indeed. Therefore, let him who until now has had the privilege of living a common Christian life with other Christians praise God’s grace from the bottom of his heart. Let him thank God on his knees and declare: It is grace, nothing but grace, that we are allowed to live in community with Christian brethren." (Bonhoeffer, Life Together, Kindle Locations 81-85)

"How good and how pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together in unity!" 
- Ps. 133.1