Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Community Devotion

I have been reading an incredible biography of Dietrich Bonhoeffer lately. If you are not familiar with his story, Bonhoeffer was a German pastor who took a stand against Hitler and the Nazi party during World War II. He died in a concentration camp at the age of 39. He was actually a part of a plot to assassinate Hitler and remove him from power. Bonhoeffer spent 18 months in prison and a concentration camp before he was executed in April 1945.

Before the outbreak of the war, Bonhoeffer spent much of his time training young pastors and overseeing the theological education of young men who were committed to living a life in community with one another and to transforming the culture through the impact of their lives. One aspect of this community was the concept of community devotion.

In community devotion, each person studies the passage of scripture for the particular day and then shares what God has spoken to them about regarding that passage. For those living in the schools led by Bonhoeffer it was a deep conviction and practice to daily comment or communion together over the scripture. When Bonhoeffer traveled, he scheduled his day so that at the time his students in Germany were studying the text, he would be doing so as well. For his time in America, that created a major obstacle because of the time difference.

One lesson that I have been learning lately is that the more I communicate what God is doing in my heart, the more it becomes personal and the more it becomes a blessing to others. As I post on my blog or FaceBook or through an e-mail the passage I have been reading and meditating through, I am constantly amazed at how often others tell me it encourages them as well.

As the scripture tells us in Acts 2, the early church devoted itself to the teaching of the word, fellowship, the breaking of bread, and prayer. I believe it is not a stretch to say that the concept of fellowship discussed here is the idea of discussion and community centered on the teaching of the word. I have come to believe that we have not really communed with God until we have shared that experience with someone else. That is why my FaceBook, Twitter and blog so often reference my bible readings and thoughts.

So, take the community devotion challenge this week. Study the scripture for yourself. Think about what it means to you. Then, share it with someone. You can use the internet, a phone call, an e-mail or a good old fashioned face-to-face conversation. But try to have community devotion this week and see how God brings his word to life in you.

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