Wednesday, August 30, 2017

Encounter with Christ

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Ordinary people wondering how on earth to be faithful Christians have this rather simple prescription: Focus on Jesus. Listen to his teachings, examine his life, notice his relationships, hear his questions and follow his invitation to be his disciple. 

For Dietrich Bonhoeffer, it was a personal encounter with Jesus Christ that was necessary to discover a lived faith and not merely abstract belief in God. The more common notion of belief did not and could not compel persons to risk everything for the sake of the call of God. What resulted instead was a form of religion that had no connection to the transforming power of Jesus Christ. It is precisely the experience of casting oneself upon the living Christ that makes authentic discipleship possible. 

He wrote from prison, “Encounter with Jesus Christ [is what matters]. Faith is participation in this being of Jesus (incarnation, cross, resurrection). Our relation to God is not a ‘religious’ relationship to the highest, most powerful and best Being imaginable — that is not authentic transcendence — but our relation to God is a new life, existing for others, through participation in the being of Jesus.” (Letters and Papers, 381).