Daily Reflection
of Creighton University's Online Ministries
May 9th, 2013

Barbara Dilly

Department of Sociology, Anthropology and Social Work
Click here for a photo of and information on this writer.
In archdioceses and dioceses of the US states of Alaska, California, Hawaii, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, Oregon, Utah, and Washington or in parts of the world where the celebration of Ascension is transferred to the Seventh Sunday of Easter, the Daily Reflection and readings may be found here:
Thursday in the Sixth Week of Easter
[294] Acts 18:1-8
Psalm 98:1,2-3ab, 3cd-4
John 16:16-20


In archdioceses and dioceses of the United States and in other parts of the world where the Feast of the Ascension is celebrated today, the following readings are used on this Thursday:
Ascension Thursday

Weekly Guide for Daily Prayer

I usually reflect on the particular content of the lessons assigned for the day, but this time I am reflecting on the process of reading the Bible on a daily basis in general.  I am drawing my insights from some of the collected works of Dietrich Bonhoeffer titled Life Together and The Prayerbook of the Bible.  Bonhoeffer was a German Lutheran theologian who was executed by the Nazis just days before the end of WWII.  He greatly valued the support of the Christian community he felt through reading the Bible, even while he was alone during his imprisonment. 

According to Bonhoeffer, the word of Christ dwells in us through the Christian community in the daily reading of the Bible.  Reading the Bible is a form of prayer in which the individual joins the body of Christ in a continuous process of learning the profound truths of God.  This prayer should be more than just pouring out our hearts to God, but rather a process of connecting to God through Christ.  It is through reading the Bible in Christ in community that we can grasp God’s Word revealed for all people.  Through reading the Bible together daily we gain more wisdom and knowledge of God.    Bonhoeffer tells us that if we read the Bible as the story of Christ in the community of Christ, we will discover our own salvation story in that larger story.  For it is in the long human story that we see God’s presence and God’s action for us in the life of Jesus Christ.  It isn’t just about us as individuals.  When we read the Bible, we should read it from the perspective of the community.  We will understand it much better that way. 

Bonhoeffer’s reflections help me understand how the Creighton University on-line ministry is so helpful to so many people who share a strong sense of community in Christ through this web-site.  Even if we read the Bible alone each day, if we read it as a form of prayer with the body of Christ, we can feel not only the support of the Christian community, but we can know the Word of God revealed to us through the community of Christ.  Writing these reflections requires us to think about the community that reads them.  Likewise, the readers are drawn to our community when they read them.  Just because we are on-line doesn’t mean we are alone.
Maybe it is because I do a lot of teaching on-line that I understand what it means to be able to create a community out of people who are all reading the same books and trying to learn from them.  But in a sense, student learning experiences are still individual.  Students are usually trying to learn from others for their own sake, not often for the good of the community.  I think that is what Bonhoeffer is saying we must avoid when we are reading the Bible through an on-line site like this.  We must be reading it through Christ.  It isn’t just about us.  It is about us in Christ.  It is about our salvation story revealed for all people.   It is about Jesus being revealed to us more and more as we gain wisdom and knowledge of God through the reading of the Word together.  So today, I pray with all of you who read this message the prayer of thanksgiving we read in the Psalm for today, “The Lord has revealed to all the nations his saving power.”  May we know through the Word in Christ that saving power to be not only the salvation of all the nations, but our own personal salvation as well. 

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