The Penultimate or the Ultimate? Wisdom from Dietrich Bonhoeffer

(tree in Julie’s yard that obviously is home to “someone” / 2013)

A daily excerpt taken from “I want to Live These Days With You”
A year of Daily Devotions by Dietrich Bonhoeffer
November 25
The seriousness of the world is death. Seriousness begins where the world stops, where it dies, where the world has a boundary. Seriousness also begins where our life stops, where we are no more, at the boundary of time. The frivolity of the world is in the moment, the penultimate, the desire of the world, as John says ( 1 John 2:17). Now it’s up to individual people whether they want to live seriously or frivolously in the world; whether they want to stay with the penultimate or press through to the ultimate; whether they regard the desire of the world as ultimate or transitory. With Old Testament power the word proclaims to us a memento mori: think about the fact that one day the world will come to an end, and you will have to render an account of your life. Then the moment of death will come over you with the certainty that the world is a world of death, and that nothing can stand up to the power of time—except the one thing: eternity–and that it’s all over for you and me. . . .Let us think about the boundary of the world and of time, and something wonderful will happen. Our eyes will be opened up to the fact that the boundary of the world, the end of the world, is the beginning of a new one, of eternity. Here time loses its power to eternity, and the ultimate thing in the world, death becomes the penultimate.

The highlighted bold ending is my emphasis as I find this to be our true Glory–that we may one day utter, with great joy and confidence, “death where is thy sting”
(1 Corinthians 15:55)— for death no longer has the final word. The Resurrection and the life offered in the Victory which was and is a direct result of that Resurrection, which was offered and continues being offered, for both me and for you— that is the final Victory, that is the final Word. That is the ultimate. Amen Amen

The text is taken from Bonhoeffer’s writings and papers from Barcelona, Berlin and Amerika 1928-1931

3 comments on “The Penultimate or the Ultimate? Wisdom from Dietrich Bonhoeffer

  1. Great post, Cookie. Bonhoeffer is one of my favorites and I adore your tree! Great photo. Have a happy Thanksgiving, missy. Blessings, Natalie 🙂

    • Thanks Natalie–I love Bonhoeffer as well. Kept it short today as I’ve been busy cooking, my dad and step mom are coming tomorrow, then later our son and fiancé will come after they spend the day with her family across the state—-what about ya’ll?
      Hope it is a wonderful day–
      hugs to you–Julie

      • Cookie, we have one daughter who is married and only lives about 25 minutes from our house. She, Nikki, and her husband Chris have 3 children ranging in age from 16, 12, and 11. The oldest is Chris’ daughter from his first marriage, and the two youngest are their adopted Guatemalan children. The two boys were adopted out of extreme poverty at birth, and they and their sister and Nikkie and Chris are the joy of our lives. Chris and Nikki are cooking the turkey, making a green bean casserole, and some homemade candy using two of my mom’s recipes. My sister and her husband are bringing twice-baked potatoes and pumpkin cheesecake. Chris’ mom and step-dad are bringing a pecan pie and a broccoli casserole. I’m in charge of the cranberry sauce which I just made, the stuffing/dressing which I’m working on, the green salad, and the sliced strawberries. So it should be quite a feast and good time for all. I hope you all have a wonderful day too. Natalie 🙂

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