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Praying the psalms together

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For other posts in this series on the book Life Together, click a number: 12, 3, 5,6789.


In Life Together, Bonhoeffer emphasizes the importance to the church of the corporate use of spiritual disciplines. He begins by emphasizing the importance of praying the psalms together, noting New Testament exhortations for churches to "speak to yourselves in psalms" (Ephesians 5:19) and to "teach and admonish one another in psalms" (Colossians 3:16)" (see p44).

Christ's prayers on our behalf
Bonhoeffer's view is that through the psalms, God speaks (the psalms, like all of Scripture are "God's Word"). And so, Bonhoeffer appropriately asks this: "How can God's Word [in the psalms] be at the same time prayer to God?" (p44). His answer is that we should interpret the psalms as the prayers offered by the man Jesus (the living, incarnate Word of God) to his Heavenly Father on behalf of the Body of Christ (the Church). This idea has s…

The link between theology and mission

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This post is quoted, with permission, from the Church-Next Training course manual published by Church Multiplication Ministries (CMM), GCI's U.S. church planting arm. The manual was written by CMM national coordinator Randy Bloom. In this section of chapter one, he helpfully outlines the essential (though often overlooked) link between theology and mission.


The Trinity: Loving Communion According to Scripture, there is one God who reveals himself as Father, Son, and Holy Spirit; three distinct yet unified Persons sharing the same essence, nature, and will. Father, Son, and Spirit live in a perfect, mutually dependent relationship of love. An ancient theological term used to describe this loving communion is perichoresis. Perichoresis attempts to express the interpenetration and co-inherence of the three persons of the Trinity. Perichoresis refers to the eternal “movement of love between the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit” which is expressed in the outworking of God’s purpos…

The church is a spiritual reality

For other posts in this series on the book Life Togetherclick a number: 1, 245,6789.


While writing this series on Bonhoeffer's book, Life Together, I've been reading Strange Glory, a life of Dietrich Bonhoeffer by Charles Marsh, who provides important historical context. He shows how Bonhoeffer wrestled to grasp the essential nature of the church in the face of what the Nazis were doing to co-opt the German-Lutheran Church into its evil schemes. Sadly, many bishops and pastors cooperated. Theirs was a badly misguided view of the essential nature of the church.

Through his experiences in Nazi Germany and elsewhere (including exposure to the Black-African church in America), Bonhoeffer came to understand that the church is a spiritual, rather than a psychic (human/experiential) reality. He learned that the church is "created...by the Holy Spirit," with its basis being "the clear, manifest Word of God in Jesus Christ." In contrast, the basis of hum…

Empathy of the Jesus kind

In earlier posts (click here and here) examining Aaron Root's book The Relational Pastor, we noted that a key attribute of effective pastors is empathy--the ability to join Jesus in his place-sharing "feeling with" others. Empathy is also essential for true Christian fellowship--the topic of our current series exploring Bonhoeffer's Life Together.

Here is a video that helpfully defines empathy. Enjoy (and embrace!).