Saturday, February 10, 2007

The Community of the Crucified

Here at the end of the Beatitudes the question arises as to where in this world such a faith-community actually finds a place. It has become clear that there is only one place for them, namely, the place where the poorest, the most tempted, the meekest of all may be found, at the cross on Golgotha. The faith-community of the blessed is the community of the Crucified. With him they lost everything, and with him they found everything. Now the word comes down from the cross: blessed, blessed. Now Jesus is speaking only to those who can understand it, to the disciples. That is why he uses a direct form of address: "Blessed are you when people revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account. Rejoice and be glad, for your reward is great in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you." "On my account" - the disciples are reviled, but it actually hurts Jesus. Everything falls on him, for they are reviled on his account. He bears the guilt. The reviling word, the deadly persecution, and the evil slander seal the blessedness of the disciples in their own communion with Jesus. Things cannot go any other way than that the world unleashes its fury in word, violence, and defamation at those meek strangers. The voice of these poor and meek is too threatening, too loud. Their suffering is too patient and quiet. In their poverty and suffering, this group of Jesus' followers gives too strong a witness to the injustice of the world. That is fatal. While Jesus calls, "blessed, blessed," the world shrieks, "Away, away with them!" Yes, away! But where will they go? Into the kingdom of heaven. Rejoice and be glad, for your reward is great in heaven. The poor will stand there in the joyous assembly. God's hand will wipe away the tears of estrangement from the eyes of the weeping. God feeds the hungry with the Lord's own Supper. Wounded and martyred bodies shall be transformed, and instead of the clothing of sin and penitence, they will wear the white robe of eternal righteousness. From that eternal Joy there comes a call to the community of disciples here under the cross, the call of Jesus, "blessed, blessed."

Dietrich Bonhoeffer

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