Dietrich Bonhoeffer and Religionless Christianity

September 18, 2015

Dietrich Bonhoeffer, a pastor in the Confessing Church of Germany, was imprisoned and martyred during World War II because he rejected Hitler and the Nazi regime. While he was in prison, he wrote the famous book “Letters from Prison”. He shared with the work many essays and prayers on the mean go faith and life. For Bonhoeffer, Jesus is the man for god and the man for others. He held that a religion could conceivably become divorced from faith in god. This can happen if religion is reduced to formality and ritual. In his view, a religionless Christianity - one that is not divorced from faith in god - is prophetic and proclaims god’s justice, peace and love. The following reflection of Bonhoeffer’s promotes the kind of spirituality that is much need today:

Each day is a finished whole
The present day marks the boundary
of our cares and concerns.
It is long enough to find god of to lose him,
to keep faith
or fall into disgrace.

God created day and night for us so we need not
wander without boundaries, but may be abel
to see in every morning
the goal of the evening ahead.

Just as the ancient sun rises anew every day,
so the eternal mercy of god is new evey morning.

Every morning god give us
the gift of comprehending anew
his faithfulness of old
thus in the midst of our life with god,
we may daily begin a new life with him.

The first moments of the hew day are for
God’s liberating grace,
God’s sanctifying presence.

Before the heart
unlocks itself for the world,
God want to open it for himself;
before the ear takes in
the countless voices of the day,
it should hear in the early hours
the voice of the
Creator and Redeemer.

God prepared the stillness
of the first morning
for himself.
It should remain his.