Friday, October 19, 2007
WHAT DOES A HEALTHY CHURCH LOOK LIKE (9: COMPASSION)
Dietrich Bonhoeffer wrote 'The church is the church only when it exists for others.' For him the 'others' were especially 'the outcast, the suspects, the maltreated, the powerless, the oppressed, the reviled - in short, those who suffer'. In his Letters and Papers from Prison he writes: 'Our church, which has been fighting only for its self-preservation, as though that were an end in itself, is incapable of taking the word of reconciliation and redemption to... the world.' He continues that our being Christian today will consist of two things: Praying and working for justice. 'All Christian thinking, speaking, and organizing must be born anew out of this prayer and action.'
*** I learned recently that in my home-state, Victoria, Australia, 7000 young people aged 12 - 24 'sleep rough' every night. A staffworker with the Melbourne City Mission told us that just about all of them come from dysfunctional and/or abusive families. Update: in today's press (October 21, 2007) I read this: 'Each night, one in every 200 Australians is said to be homeless.' Tragic!