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Bonhoeffer on Meditation

Face has written:

Dietrich Bonhoeffer points out in “Life Together” that the measure of our time alone with God is not whether or not we have an “experience,” but whether or not the Word of God sinks deeply enough into our souls to change our hearts and our actions.

Bonhoeffer insists that everything we do must be centered on the Word of God. Prayer, worship, and meditation on Scripture are all designed to help us speak, understand, and be shaped by the Word. Those who are not serious about this purpose–who are only seeking a spiritual experience–will end up with a superficial relationship with Him. But those who see the absorption of the Word as the main purpose of time alone with God will find themselves truly changed.

The true quality of our time alone with God will be revealed, according to Bonhoeffer:

Every day brings to the Christian many hours in which he will be alone in an unchristian environment. These are the times of testing. This is the test of true meditation and true Christian community…This is the place where we find out whether the Christian’s meditation has led him into the unreal, from which he awakens in terror when he returns to the workaday world, or whether it has led him into a real contact with God, from which he emerges strengthened and purified. Has it transported him for a moment into a spiritual ecstasy that vanishes when everyday life returns, or has it lodged the Word of God so securely and deeply in his heart that it holds and fortifies him, impelling him to active love, to obedience, to good works? Only the day can decide.

I love the practical nature of Bonhoeffer’s writings.

December 2008


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