So much strength to resist ! Read Bonhoeffer in critical times (1) Sunday 29 March 2020

Some Statemens of Faith on God’s Action in History

“I believe

that God can and will let good come out of everything, even the greatest evil.

For that to happen, God needs human beings who let everything work out for the best.

I believe

that in every moment of distress God will give us as much strength to resist as we need.

But it is not given to us in advance, lest we rely on ourselves and not on God alone.

In such faith all fear of the future should be overcome.

I believe

that even our mistakes and shortcomings are not in vain and that it is no more difficult for God to deal with them than with our supposedly good deeds.

I believe

that God is no timeless fate but waits for and responds to sincere prayer and responsible actions.”

Dietrich Bonhoeffer Works, Volume 8, Letters and Papers from Prison, Prologue, p. 46, Fortress Press, Minneapolis 2009.

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„Widerstand und Ergebung“ (resistance and submission / acquiescence) – this is the title that Eberhard Bethge gave Dietrich Bonhoeffer’s letters and papers from prison when it was first published in 1951.

Bethge refers to Bonhoeffer’s letter of February 21, 1944, in which he considers “the line between necessary resistance to ‘fate’ and equally necessary submission”.

In his “Account at the Turn of the year 1942-1943 – After Ten Years” for himself and his co-conspirators Eberhard Bethge, Hans v. Dohnanyi and Hans Oster, Bonhoeffer speaks of “the strength of resistance”. For him, political resistance and the inner strength of resistance from faith belong together.

Especially in critical times of isolation and quarantine, the restriction of our ‘physical’ relationships and the worry about losing jobs and future prospects, we can find orientation and encouragement for our mind and soul in Bonhoeffer’s thoughts.

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