Monday, July 12, 2010

Dietrich Bonhoeffer

Dietrich Bonhoeffer (1906–1945) was a major German writer between the wars, a Lutheran pastor and theologian, whose books — such as The Cost of Discipleship — remain influential. In 1939 he refused to take the oath of loyalty to Adolph Hitler. In 1943, he was arrested for his participation in a plot to assassinate the Nazi leader.

In his cell in Flossenburg Prison, where he awaited execution, Bonhoeffer wrote the poems which appear in Voices in the Night (translated by Edwin Robertson). Sympathetic guards smuggled out his letters, and even offered to help him escape; he declined because he felt his family would be punished. He was executed by hanging on April 8, 1945 — just three weeks before Soviet forces captured Berlin.

Christians and Others

1. All go to God in their distress,
seek help and pray for bread and happiness,
deliverance from pain, guilt and death.
All do, Christians and others.

2. All go to God in His distress,
find him poor, reviled without shelter or bread,
watch him tormented by sin, weakness, and death.
Christians stand by God in His agony.

3. God goes to all in their distress,
satisfies body and soul with His bread,
dies, crucified for all, Christians and others
and both alike forgiving.

Entry written by D.S. Martin. He is the award-winning author of the poetry collections Poiema (Wipf & Stock) and So The Moon Would Not Be Swallowed (Rubicon Press). They are both available at: