Student Blog Posts

Virtual Neighbors

By Dickson Peter Barasa

Dietrich Bonhoeffer writes in ‘Life Together:’

We must be ready to allow ourselves to be interrupted by God. God will be constantly crossing our paths and interrupting our plans by sending us people with claims and petitions. We may pass them by, preoccupied with our more important tasks…It is a strange fact that Christians frequently consider their work so important and urgent that they will allow nothing to disturb them. They think they are doing God a service in this, but actually, they are disdaining God’s ‘crooked yet straight path.’[1]

Continued from The Herald

These words from Dietrich Bonhoeffer make sense to us during this Covid-19 pandemic. The whole world has been disrupted and our daily schedules have taken a new normal.

Is Bonhoeffer ignoring the idea of making priorities or even sticking to our schedules? I understand that sometimes little can be done but I see Bonhoeffer encouraging us to discern God’s message by placing “Others” in the picture. Sometimes God interrupts us to bring us to the right path.

Many Christians are interrupted in their daily lives but few allow those interruptions to affect their lives. Jesus’ parable of “Good Samaritan” is such an example of how God interrupts us, we only need to figure out how to seize such moments because it is through such situations that God teaches us patience, compassion, and love. “A Samaritan, who was on a journey, came to where the man was. But when he saw him, he was moved with compassion. The Samaritan went to him and bandaged his wounds,…” (Luke 10:33-34a) CEB. Out of his schedule, the Samaritan made use of that interruption to assist another.

I have experienced such values at McCormick fraternity. The community has always been good at responding to daily interruptions. The moment you led a new student or a visitor to meet a staff or faculty member in the building you created that sense of togetherness.

At such a time as this when we are confronted with the unseen enemy which has interrupted everyone’s life, there are ways that we can continue with “life together.” When you write an email, text, or make a phone call to encourage one another it does not mean that you are idle- you are doing what the Samaritan did. God gives you that thought and it is you to discern and take action. By reaching out to others we are continuing the spirit of “life together.” Like Apostle Paul’s message to the Hebrew Christians not to neglect meeting with other believers, I urge each one of us not to stop meeting on zoom, email, text message, phone call as the end of Semester nears. What will continue to connect us? This is a question to ponder. Stay safe!

[1]  Dietrich Bonhoeffer (1906-1945), Life Together [1954], tr. Daniel W. Bloesch & James H. Burtness, Fortress Press, 2004, p. 99.