Dietrich Bonhoeffer on Death

Why are we so afraid when we think about death? … Death is only dreadful for those who live in dread and fear of it. Death is not wild and terrible, if only we can be still and hold fast to God’s Word. Death is not bitter, if we have not become bitter ourselves. Death is grace, the greatest gift of grace that God gives to people who believe in him. Death is mild, death is sweet and gentle; it beckons to us with heavenly power, if only we realize that it is the gateway to our homeland, the tabernacle of joy, the everlasting kingdom of peace.  Dietrich Bonhoeffer

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A Prayer from Dietrich Bonhoeffer

Bonhoeffer wrote this prayer while he was imprisoned by the Nazis, and I thought it was well worth posting.  It was written for his fellow prisoners, but certainly has a universal application.

O God, early in the morning I cry to you.

Help me to pray
And to concentrate my thoughts on you;
I can’t do this alone.

In me there’s darkness,
But with you there’s light;
I’m lonely, but you don’t leave me;

I’m feeble in heart, but with you there’s help;
I’m restless, but with you there’s peace.
In me there’s bitterness, but with you there’s patience;
I don’t understand your ways,
But you know the way for me.

O Heavenly Father,
I praise and thank you
For rest in the night;
I praise and thank you for this new day;
I praise and thank you for all your goodness
and faithfulness throughout my life.

You have granted me many blessings;
Now let me also accept what’s hard from your hand.
You will lay on me no more than I can bear.
You make all things work together for good for your children.

Lord Jesus Christ,
You were poor and in distress, a captive and forsaken as I am.

You know all man’s troubles;
You abide with me when all men fail me;
You remember and seek me;
It’s your will that I should know you and turn to you.
Lord, I hear your call and follow;
Help me.

O Holy Spirit,
Give me faith that will protect me
from despair, from passions, and from vice;
Give me such love for God and men
as will blot out all hatred and bitterness;
Give me the hope that will deliver me
from fear and faint-heartedness.

Amen.

 

Admonish One Another — A Quote by Dietrich Bonhoeffer

“Nothing can be more cruel than the leniency which abandons others to their sin. Nothing can be more compassionate than the severe reprimand which calls another Christian in one’s community back from the path of sin.”
Dietrich Bonhoeffer,  Life Together

Dietrich Bonhoeffer on Serving

Dietrich Bonhoeffer

“The Church is the Church only when it exists for others…not dominating, but helping and serving. It must tell men of every calling what it means to live for Christ, to exist for others.”

Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Letters and Papers from Prison

Dietrich Bonhoeffer on the Community of Saints

“The community of the saints is not an ‘ideal’ community consisting of perfect and sinless men and women, where there is no need of further repentance. No, it is a community which proves that it is worthy of the gospel of forgiveness by constantly and sincerely proclaiming God’s forgiveness”

Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Life Together

If you have never read Life Together by Dietrich Bonhoeffer, I highly recommend it as a realistic look at living in the Christian communion of saints.

 

Dietrich Bonhoeffer on the Need for Repentance

Dietrich Bonhoeffer

“Cheap grace is the grace we bestow on ourselves. Cheap grace is the preaching of forgiveness without requiring repentance, baptism without church discipline, Communion without confession…Cheap grace is grace without discipleship, grace without the cross, grace without Jesus Christ, living and incarnate.”

Dietrich Bonhoeffer