Tomorrow, April 9th, is the 70th anniversary of the death of Dietrich Bonhoeffer. A Lutheran pastor and professor, he was executed by the Nazis for his resistance work, including his participation in an assassination attempt against Hitler. He was 39 years old.
In his short life, he wrote prolifically, and his books remain influential. I have found much of his writing challenging and inspiring in my own life. One book that I keep on my shelf and return to over and over is a daily devotional that includes selections from his writing.
A few quotes to ponder:
"Christians have their field of activity in the world. There they are to get involved, go to work, co-create, and do the will of God." Barcelona, Berlin, Amerika 1928-1931. ed. Hans Christoph von Hase and Reinhart Staats, together with Holger Roggelin and Matthias Wunsche. 1991. pg. 504
"A faith that does not hope is sick. It is like a hungry child who will not eat or a tired person who will not sleep.
As certainly as people believe, so certainly do they hope. And it is no shame in hoping, in hoping boundlessly. Who would even want to talk of God and not hope? Who would want to talk of God without hoping one day to see him? Who would want to talk of peace and love among human beings without wanting to experience it once in eternity? Who would want to talk of a new world and a new humanity without hoping that they might one day participate? And why should we be ashamed of our hope? We will one day have to be ashamed, not of our hope, but of our miserable and anxious hopelessness that trusts nothing to God, that in false humility does not grasp where God's promises are given, that is resigned to this life and cannot look forward to God's eternal power and glory. The more people dare to hope, the greater they become with their hope: people grow with their hope-
if it is hope only in God and his sole power. Hope abides." London 1933-1935. ed. Hans Goedeking, Martin Heimbucher, and Hans-Walter Schleicher. 1994. p. 401-402.
Tomorrow, as we remember the day that Dietrich Bonhoeffer was born into heaven, let us give thanks for his life and witness.