Saturday, December 31, 2016

Bonhoeffer, 1944


Dietrich Bonhoeffer wrote these words around 1944 while he was imprisoned by the Gestapo in Nazi Germany. He would later be executed as a traitor against the Nazi regime.

"During these years the Church has fought for self‑preservation as though it were an end in itself, and has thereby lost its chance to speak a word of reconciliation to humanity and to the world at large. So our traditional language must perforce become powerless and remain silent, and our Christianity will be confined to praying and doing right to our human brothers and sisters. Christian thinking, speaking and organizing must be reborn out of this praying and this action... It will be a new language... the language of a new righteousness and truth, which proclaims the peace of God with humankind and the advent of his kingdom." Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Letters and Papers from Prison

How much is it the case today that the church is fighting for self-preservation as though it were an end in itself? Are we presently speaking a word of reconciliation to humanity? Is it still a time in which we must remain silent other than to pray and do right by our human brothers and sisters? What would it look like if we were to truly “do right to our human brothers and sisters?” Dear Lord, please show us how to be your church in 2017.


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