Bonhoeffer & Niemoller

Son Rise – April 2013

The Lenten time of reflection is over and Christ has risen.  The light and hope of Christ has lifted the darkness.  Through the Lenten season we were reflecting on God’s will for us, individually and corporately, and taking time to listen to God’s voice on the direction we should take.   Now we must put what we heard into action.

Recently, I had an opportunity to be reacquainted with two great men of faith and what they stood for.  The first being Dietrich Bonhoeffer and the other his friend, Martin Niemoller.  I do not measure up to their courage or even their faith but their influence encourages me daily to strive to live out the Love of Christ.

Like Bonhoeffer, Martin Niemoller was prominent Protestant pastor who emerged as an outspoken public foe of Adolf Hitler and spent the last seven years of Nazi rule in concentration camp.  He said the following which I find haunting as I know I have not been the voice for others as I should.  I pray that I, individually, and we, as a church, will find our voice for those who do not have one.

“First they came for the Socialists, and I did not speak out–Because I was not a Socialist.

Then they came for the Trade Unionists, and I did not speak out–Because I was not a Trade Unionist.  Because I was not a Jew.

Then they came for me–and there was no one left to speak for me.”

We are called to help others and to share in each other’s suffering.  To be the voice for those who have none.  As Bonhoeffer so eloquently and powerfully stated in his book, Life Together:

The table fellowship of Christians implies obligation.  It is our daily bread that we eat, not my own.  We share our bread. ….Now none dares go hungry as long as another has bread, and he who breaks this fellowship of the physical life also breaks the fellowship of the Spirit….So long as we eat our bread together we shall have sufficient even with the least.  Not until one person desires to keep his own bread for himself does hunger ensue.  This is a strange divine law.  May not the story of the miraculous feeding of the five thousand with two fishes and five loaves have, along with many others, this meaning also?

I ask that you mediate of these words and ponder their meaning as it relates to you and to the church.  How are we to share in others sufferings and who needs us to be their voice?

He is Risen, He is Risen indeed!

Kim D.

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