Chapter Two: The Day with Others
This chapter reminded me of what Luther has been attributed as to having said – “I have so much to do that I shall spend the first three hours of my day in prayer.” Bonhoeffer’s comments about the beginning of the day represent a shift in thinking for me. I tend to evaluate the day in terms of how much I must do. The idea that “for Christians the beginning of the day should not be burdened and oppressed with besetting concerns for the day’s work” (43) is foreign to me.
One question that I wrestled with in this chapter are the statements made on pages 45-46 regarding the Psalter as being the prayer book of Jesus Christ. Although I can see this on one level, I have to wonder if that is unnecessary allegorizing. That said, I resonate with the significance of embracing the Psalter in our personal and corporate prayer life—it is the prayer book of the church.
Another interesting topic was the treatment of worship. “Where the heart is not singing there is no melody, there is only the dreadful medley of human self-praise.” As I sat in church a few weeks ago, I looked around the room as the worship team was “leading” the singing. They sounded amazing. So amazing, in fact, that despite the words being on the screen, I could see no one in the congregation actually singing. It was a concert. A concert of praise? How can it be when the people have been rendered voiceless? I couldn’t help but think it was a celebration of the talent on the stage rather than the church bursting forth in praise for their King. This performance aspect has become embedded in the DNA of our churches. Is this beyond recovery? What can we do to bring things back to a corporate expression of worship as opposed to a selective celebration of talent?