Life Together

Life together.

Dietrich Bonhoeffer wrote a book by the same name.

His book is about community. Yes, brilliant minds have been discussing the necessity of genuine community for longer than most of us have been alive. It’s not a new concept.

But it’s quite the buzzword these days.

Community.

I can recall two distinct periods of time in my life when I felt like I belonged — really belonged — to a community. Not surprisingly, these times coincide with my happiest memories.

Friends. A group of us. Together.
With each other. For each other.

I can count other times, however, when I felt left out of the community I observed around me. Not surprisingly, these times coincide with my unhappiest memories.

Community holds power. Both for good and for evil. We can inflict great pain on others when we deny them access to the community we cherish. We can also extend great joy to others when we invite them to participate in the community we love.

We don’t need to be told that we should be in community. We already know that we were designed for community.

We know the void we feel.
We know the longing that scrapes at our souls.

After all, God said, “Let us make man in our image” (Genesis 1:26). Us. Our. The holy Trinity, a three-in-one community, together but distinct.

What we need is not another list of the benefits found in community.
What we need is not another testimony of how other people found community.

What we need is an invitation.

To tea. To lunch. To anything.

Of course, I am here. On this side of the screen. And you are there.

Perhaps we could meet at a conference.
Perhaps we could meet at (in)RL.

Or, perhaps there is someone there, in your part of the woods, you could invite to coffee. This sounds scary. I know. (I confess I’m the introvert of introverts.)

But, friends, let’s do it. Let’s be bold. Even a little crazy. Let’s call someone we’d like to get to know better. Maybe that person is just waiting for someone like you to reach out.

Is there someone on your heart? Someone you could reach out to?
Have you ever read Life Together by Dietrich Bonhoeffer?

*Earlier this week, I read another post on community. It’s a beautiful composition by a beautiful blogger, Alia Joy. Take a moment and read her thoughts on community. You’ll be blessed.

Today, I’m joining Lisa-Jo, taking 5 minutes to write about “together.”

Looking up verse: 2 minutes
Writing this post: 5 minutes
Uploading photo and links: 14 minutes
Spending Fridays with you: Priceless

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46 thoughts on “Life Together

  1. I love the word community because of all it implies… In a meeting over a year ago with women leaders at my church I stated women needed community and we needed to be part of helping establish one as part of the ministry. Communities happen in different forms. Specifically I used “faith communnity”. It was a common phrase used among some missionaries. She did not like the use of either word. I still am baffled by that. On a side note, I am continully challenged by Bonhoffer. “Life in Community” does present a challenge for beleivers even if not in agreement wiht every thing he write.

  2. Pingback: Community Is Why I Write | Denise J. Hughes

  3. I’ve been thinking of this subject a lot lately as our Bible study group is doing a study on relationships and community. I think we need to take a dual approach to establishing friendships. We can’t expect them to come to us. We have to give up something of ourselves, become vulnerable, something few people like to do. But we also need to think of the needs of others and draw them out. Give up bits of ourselves and reach out. Both are scary, but both are necessary.

    • Oh, I’m so with you on that, Tami. “We can’t expect them to come to us. We have to give up something of ourselves … ” So true. Yet scary too. But worth it all the same.

      Blessings to you my friend. 🙂

  4. I loved this! Especially the part about what we need is … an invitation! So true. We can talk all we want about community but unless I invite you to share life with me, there is no community.

  5. This was beautiful, Denise! I would love to meet you face to face one day. Your writing echos so much of my hearts cry. Bound together as sisters by our Father. We may never meet on this earth, but I am quite sure that we will meet and hug in the New Earth. Hugs, friend!

  6. Denise, this moved me: “We know the void we feel.
    We know the longing that scrapes at our souls.

    After all, God said, “Let us make man in our image” (Genesis 1:26). Us. Our. The holy Trinity, a three-in-one community, together but distinct.” and we need an invitation. oh, yes, *yes*, friend. i think i will be thinking on this for a few days–carrying it with me. i love hope unbroken’s comment–introverts unite–this is a problem for me as well. i have been wounded, so i close up. thank you for this gentle, bold reminder, friend. i would love to read this too. blessings to you and thank you so much for all the times you have come by and been a constant source of encouragement to me–you minister.

    • Nacole, your words move me. “i have been wounded, so i close up.” I am right there with you. To withdraw in my natural tendency. But, yes, I loved Hope Unbroken’s sentiment too. Introverts unite! Amen. 🙂

  7. I’d love a community where all felt included. Sometimes I can see the longing in another’s face — those are easy to include. But others’ longing is “scraping the soul” behind their “I don’t need anybody” attitude. Those many times need the community most. I’m eager to download this book.

    • Pamela, how right you are. Our wounds can leave us with a self-protecting “I don’t need anybody” attitude. But then, of course, we only end up hurting ourselves further. I’m with you. “I’d love a community where we all felt included.” It’s one of my life’s goals to create that kind of community where I live. Hugs to you, my friend. 🙂

    • Connected through community IS such a blessing. Sometimes I am guilty of holding back though. I know this to be true about myself. Thank you for embracing me, Alene. I so appreciate this community here with you and the rest of the gals. 🙂

    • Oh, Miranda. I so understand where you’re coming from. I spent so many years home alone with small children, aching for friendship. Keep writing, friend. Keep reaching out. You have a beautiful gift. And I am honored to walk this journey with you, even if from afar. {HUGS}

  8. Thanks for reminding me of the importance of extending the invitation to community as well. I’m afraid I’m usually waiting for others to invite me in, when I have a responsibility to invite them in as well.

  9. How our journeys and roads travelled are made all the more sweet, bearable and enjoyable by the community who takes the steps with us. I am living the saying “it takes a village to raise a child” as friendship and fellowship rallies round us so I know we don’t travel the journey with our daughter alone. It is such a great reminder to keep reaching out to others, despite our shyness. I can testify how a word of encouragement or prayer from an acquaintance is an invitation to community and friendship and how it has supported me in recent times. Let’s be bold and build these relationships – love it! Thank you!

    • Oh, Kate, I continue to think of you and your daughter. I’m praying, dear friend. May God send loved ones nearby to surround you and be with you. Sometimes there are no words. Sometimes the presence of a friend ~ sitting together, passing the Kleenex ~ can speak more than a thousand words ever could.

      My His light shine through your daughter.

  10. When I saw the word this week, that book is the first thing that came to my mind! I’m glad I didn’t write on it as you did perfectly!
    “Community holds power.” so, so true. May I not shy away from that power.
    Thank you for encouraging this epitome of introverts to reach out. I will strive to do just that. In fact, I’ll make the first phone call… 😉

    (so bummed I couldn’t do the inRL, this weekend didn’t work for me, but hope you are!)

  11. We need an invitation to community – so true. I used to wait for them and when they didn’t come I gave them out. Some of my happiest, richest memories are from times in community. I haven’t read that one yet but sold tons of my years of running bookstores. I know it is good.

  12. Denise,
    What a timely post. One of the core values of my church is “You can’t do life alone.” I think that is so true. Christ calls us to community. Thanks for your loving reminder.
    Susan

    • Try as we might, you’re right, we can’t do life alone. But when hurts and disappointments come our way, it’s sometimes tempting to try. But real community is worth the effort and the risk.

    • Oooh, I have “Cost of Discipleship” sitting on my nightstand (collecting dust). I keep meaning to read it! I’d love to read it at the same time and discuss it with you! How fun. 🙂

  13. love this. fellow introverts unite! 🙂 it is hard, but we are called to reach out, yes? thanks for the encouraging words. we so need this fellowship with others. but it is hard to make myself do it at times.
    and i MUST read that book! sounds like a good one.
    have a great weekend!
    steph

    • “Joy stepping out in faith…” I love that. So often I associate “stepping out in faith” with risk and fear, not so much joy. Thanks for reminding me that there is a deep abiding joy with obedience. 🙂

  14. Although the idea of community and connecting has been around a very long time… I am just learning, more and more, of the importance of it and the tremendous life-giving blessing of it. I used to be in “hiding”. But I will never go back! I have found love and joy and healing in connecting… Perfect love casts out all fear 🙂

    Blessings to you…

    • I have gone through seasons of “hiding.” It’s such a strong temptation after being wounded from relationships. But you’re right, a healthy community is “life-giving.” And sometimes I need to remind myself of that. 🙂

  15. Life Together is one of my long-time favorite books …so glad to see your post on this today Denise! Especially glad that we got to know each other initially through a small group community!.

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