Dietrich Bonhoeffer
wrote these words around 1944 while he was imprisoned by the Gestapo in Nazi
Germany. He would later be executed as a traitor against the Nazi regime.
“During these years the Church has fought for self‑preservation
as though it were an end in itself, and has thereby lost its chance to speak a
word of reconciliation to humanity and to the world at large. So our
traditional language must perforce become powerless and remain silent, and our
Christianity will be confined to praying and doing right to our human brothers
and sisters. Christian thinking, speaking and organizing must be reborn out of
this praying and this action… It will be a new language… the language of a
new righteousness and truth, which proclaims the peace of God with humankind
and the advent of his kingdom.” Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Letters and Papers from Prison
How much is it
the case today that the church is fighting for self-preservation as though it
were an end in itself? Are we presently speaking a word of reconciliation to
humanity? Is it still a time in which we must remain silent other than to pray
and do right by our human brothers and sisters? What would it look like if we
were to truly “do right to our human brothers and sisters?” Dear Lord, please
show us how to be your church in 2017.

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