Chapel – 4/15/20
Reflection: Holy Week and Easter felt a little different this year didn’t they? You probably watched a live-streamed or pre-recorded church services as church buildings themselves were closed…your Easter dinner may have been a smaller gathering than it normally would be, or maybe you were able to celebrate with extended family, but through FaceTime or Zoom rather than sharing a single table…a typical Easter tradition may not have been possible this year – a community Easter Egg hunt or singing at the mass Good Friday service or…
The list could go on right? This year was different. And what do all these have in common? Sharing an experience in the fellowship of others, being a part of a larger community of family, or church, or friends.
Dietrich Bonhoeffer, a German pastor in the 1930’s and 1940’s, recognized the great value of Christian community. He is likely best well known for his stand against the Nazi regime and his book ‘The Cost of Discipleship’. Another well known book is ‘Life Together’ which is largely based on his experiences as a professor at a seminary in Germany, forced to go underground, and the communal life he enjoyed with fellow believers.
In his book ‘Life Together’ Bonhoeffer states, “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.”
He could be speaking to us today, following this strange and unusual Easter season!
May we, when this time of isolation is over (and it will be!) find ourselves renewed in our joy and our thanksgiving for Christian fellowship. May we celebrate with family and friends, thanking God for the gift of community and the time shared with fellow believers. May we recognize this gift of God’s grace – our Christian friends, neighbors, and community – during this season where we also remember and are grateful for His all-encompassing, all-powerful grace that has saved us and redeemed us.
Song: Call It Grace by Unspoken
Prayer: Dear Father, in the midst of these days when we are physically apart from our Christian community, we thank you all the more for it. We praise you for your grace, that provides for us each and every day, that renews us, that gifts us with fellow Christians to walk alongside in this life. And we praise you for the Grace you have bestowed on us, that saves us from sin, renews our life, and makes us clean. Our life is grace, nothing but grace. In Your holy name, Amen
Contributed by: Amy Cooper