It is not an overstatement to say that the central idea of Bonhoeffer‘s theological work are present in or informed by his dissertation Sanctorum Communio: A Dogmatic Inquiry into the Sociology of the Church.

Completed when he was (just!) twenty-one years old, the book considered the church as a reality in which “Christ exists as community.”  As the congregation gathers and experiences together God’s grace in word, sacrament, and service, the church becomes the presence of Christ in the world (Stephen R. Haynes and Lori Brandt Hale, Bonhoeffer for Armchair Theologians, 78).

This is most certainly a vital message that the twenty-first century needs to hear as well!