“Jesus Christ lived in the midst of his enemies,” Bonhoeffer says, and therefore “the Christian, too, belongs not in the seclusion of a cloistered life but in the thick of foes.” Because the kingdom is and must be in the midst of enemies, Christians are a scattered people; it is the scattering of the seed that creates the context for the visible fellowship of the saints. It is “only by a gracious anticipation of the last things that Christians are privileged to live in visible fellowship with other Christians.” Visible fellowship, then, is a gift of grace for our lives in this world, one that, like all gifts of grace, brings its own obligations with it in light of the community’s common Lord.

Christ must be our teacher if we are to learn to live with one another.