The beginning of the second chapter in Life Together is dedicated to a reframing of when “day” begins and ends. In the Old Testament, the day began in the evening, when we rest and God works. The day ended at sunset, when darkness begins.
In the New Testament, the day begins Sunday morning at the break of dawn, when Christ Jesus resurrected from the dead and darkness was no longer.
“The early morning belongs to the Church of the risen Christ.” p.41
The morning belongs to the Church as we gather for common worship and common reading of the Word, to give thanks and praise to Victorious One.
It feels, so far, like a pastoral letter establishing spiritual disciplines of communal prayer, worship, and devotion. Bonhoeffer sees the morning as a deep reality of God’s breaking into the now, establishing light out of darkness. He also sees the morning as the first opportunity to hear the Word that awakens us (p.42).
Therefore, at the beginning of the day let all distraction and empty talk be silenced and let the first thought and first word belong to him to whom our whole life belongs [quotes Eph.5:14]. p.43
All unrest, all impurity, all care and anxiety flee before him. p.43
Let our mornings be filled with gratitude and hope. For darkness passed, and the morning light shines again.
“every common devotion should include the word of Scripture, the hymns of the Church, and the prayer of the fellowship.” p.44
“The Psalter is the prayer book of Jesus Christ in the truest sense of the word. He prayed the Psalter and now it has become his prayer for all time.” p.46
For the BonHof, the Psalms are the prayers of the Christ. What an imagination to see it like this!
More pastoral insight: when we pray the Psalms, we pray the prayers of Christ, which reach the heart of God. In so doing, we pray His prayers, not our own. We become mediators and intercessors of the prayerful heart of Christ Jesus. (see p.46)
When we pray collectively as a community, we function as the Body of Christ, which we cannot fulfill as individuals–because we are members of a One Body. The Psalms are read in fullness only in community. That’s why when we gather to pray and worship collectively, you may not “feel” connected to the prayer or reading or song. But we pray it, sing it, proclaim not just for ourselves, but for the other members in our community because we are a Body. (see p.47)
We pray repetitiously because there is a different, less than holy and life giving repetition that must be drowned out.
“The more deeply we grow into the psalms and the more often we pray them as our own, the more simple and rich will our prayer become.” p.50
BonHoeffer makes a strong case for the reading and studying of the whole of Scripture. He wants to see what I believe the Catholic church has done for centuries: a reading of the Psalms, OT passage, NT passage, and Gospel passage. In as such, we get a fuller sense of the Big Story. (see p.50-51)
Prayer – The Psalms as Christ’s Prayers
Scripture Reading – OT, Psalm, NT, and Gospel reading for the breadth of the Gospel Narrative
Singing the New Song – The Victorious Song of the Church in gratitude and adoration of the work of Salvation from King Jesus
“The fact that we do not speak it but sing it only expresses the fact that our spoken words are inadequate to express what we want to say, that the burden of our song goes far beyond all human words. Yet we do not hum a melody; we sing words of praise to God, words of thanksgiving, confession, and prayer. Thus the music the servant of the Word.” p.59