Bonhoeffer and Hope


You’ve read of my admiration for Dietrich Bonhoeffer if you’ve read my earlier post Heros, Bonhoeffer, and a Troubling Past
It was 68 years ago today that Bonhoeffer was led to the gallows at Flossenburg prison where he was hung, by Hitler’s direct orders. The collision of two very opposite paths meeting at this one most insane moment.

I will not recount Bonhoeffer’s life story as it is in that previous post. The young German Lutheran minister and theologian, murdered for his unwavering conviction and his lack of capitulation as his very church, the German Lutheran church, buckled under the Nazi regime—all the while knowing that doing so would put his very existence in jeopardy.

As I read the works of Bonhoeffer today, it is difficult for me to believe that he died 68 years ago as his words seem to speak so clearly and timely for the events of our lives in this day. I often find myself wondering as to how he knew this or that as it seems he is speaking to me so very clearly. But what I don’t understand is how troubling his world actually was at that time and that perhaps troubles of the past are not much different from the troubles of today.

Granted, here in the US we seem to always live in this protected bubble. We are not like the South Koreans who are waking up each morning, as of late, wondering if this will be the day that North Korea decides to “destroy” the world. We do not live in Syria wondering if this is the day we are to be shot, bombed or tortured. I could go on and on but I won’t. It’s just that often I must be mindful that although my world seems relatively unscathed from the traumas of life in the world, I am joined in brotherhood with my fellow man–wherever he or she may be and wherever there is suffering–I am as well.

As a Christian, we are bound by the suffering and are called to help ease that suffering. Mother Teresa did not just “minister” to the sick, hungry and dying Christian but to the sick, hungry, and dying Muslim, Hindu, atheist…—she made no distinction. If one suffers, we all suffer.

I will give you, this day, the words of Dietrich Bonhoeffer:
“Hope does not disappoint us” (Rom.5:5) Where there is still hope, there is no defeat.

I always believe that if we can open our eyes each morning to a new day, regardless of what is raging about us, there is, indeed, still hope. Even as Bonhoeffer was being lead to the gallows, he knew and he believed in the very hope that greets each of us today.

Here is to your hopeful day!!