There are not, then, two levels to the Christian life; there is, in the end, only one: a life lived in radical union with and dependence upon Christ, the living and righteous Word, for our justification, righteousness, and life. But this one life can take on manifold forms. Whether we live as members of a formal community, or whether we simply seek to love each other well as members of a congregation, we are able to live together as members of Christ’s body in our particular circumstances when we understand that our unity is not an aspiration or a project for human ingenuity, nor is it achieved by extraordinary spiritual heroism. It is, moreover, not a unity that takes us out of the world into a separate society. Instead, it is, as are all things, the gift of God in Christ, to be received and lived out with gratitude in the midst of, and for the good of, that world.

Bonhoeffer: “The Christian belongs not in the seclusion of a cloistered life but in the thick of foes.”