One of Bonhoeffer themes is to define “church”. For as long as I can remember, church has always been Jesus’ church, “the body of Christ,” never a national or denominational church. But back in the 1930’s the idea of “The Church of Jesus Christ,” was one that was being worked out, particularly by Bonhoeffer. The Nazis had just come to power and were using the church to their ideological advantage. Bonhoeffer, citing Scripture, spoke of the church as universal, not as national, nor as German. “There is neither Jew nor Greek, slave nor free, male nor female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus” Gal. 3.28.
Today we are still grappling with this; people and institutions are still using the church for political advantage. Two days in a row now, the Boston Globe has brought to our attention how, in the name of Jesus, the organized church is still trying to exclude people. Following Bonhoeffer prophetic message, Rev. John Unni, priest of St. Cecilia’s Church in Boston, is welcoming all of God’s children to God’s table; all, including gays and lesbians.
Recently, while receiving hate mail, Father Unni thought about Jesus’ message to turn the other cheek. “I started praying for these people. But it happened to me. The energy in me changed. Even if you disagree with someone, why would you be hateful?”
Again, I am reminded how very central prayer is to the Christian faith. We need to continue to pray, “not my will but thy