Today we are reading John 13:21-32 where Jesus predicts his betrayal. It can be found here.
We don’t like to think of things like this. Many of us have this idea of church and of community where everything is always perfect. Dietrich Bonhoeffer wrote a lot about community in his book “Life Together“. He wrote:
- No sooner are people together than they begin to observe, judge, and classify each other. Thus, even as Christian community is in the process of being formed, an invisible, often unknown, yet terrible life-and-death struggle commences.
- A Christian community either lives by the intercessory prayers of its members for one another, or the community will be destroyed. I can no longer condemn or hate other Christians for whom I pray, no matter how much trouble they cause me. In intercessory prayer the face that may have been strange and intolerable to me is transformed into the face of one for whom Christ died, the face of a pardoned sinner. That is a blessed discovery for the Christian who is beginning to offer intercessory prayer for others. As far as we are concerned, there is no dislike, no personal tension, no disunity or strife, that cannot be overcome by intercessory prayer. Intercessory prayer is the purifying bath into which the individual and the community must enter every day.
- Those who take refuge in community while fleeing from themselves are misusing it to indulge in empty talk and distraction, no matter how spiritual this idle talk and distraction may appear.
- Whoever cannot be alone should beware of community… But the reverse is also true. Whoever cannot stand being in community should beware of being alone.
As you read John 13:21-32 and the quotes from Life Together…
- what stands out?
- why are we so surprized by conflict?
- why is the last quote from Bonhoeffer so vital for us to understand?