In Sunday School this morning we discussed the core value of “community” as the church. We were discussing some of the ways in which our “community” turns in upon itself (sometimes in self-preservation; sometimes because it simply cannot live in the world). I was reminded that the church exists pro mundi beneficio (for the benefit of the world) because our Lord is pro nobis (for us).*
The church does not exist for its own self-preservation and its own benefit. The church (every local gathering of those following the Lord Jesus Christ) exists for the benefit of the world. The world which God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, loves. The world which Jesus gave his life to redeem. The world wandering in darkness. The world dead in sin.
The church is the light of the world. The church is life. The church is redemption. The church is love. The church exists for the benefit of the world. Let us never forget that.
* This follows the trajectory of Dietrich Bonhoeffer’s several descriptions of Christ’s life, death, resurrection, and exaltation “pro nobis” (several of these can be found in: “The Young Bonhoeffer: 1918-1927” DBW 9 [Minneapolis: Augsburg Fortress, 2003], p.338; “Berlin: 1932-1933” DBW 12 [Minneapolis: Augsburg Fortress, 2009], p.359)