Posts tagged “Dietrich Bonhöeffer

Sermo Dei: Ash Wednesday 2015

Posted on March 11th, 2015

First of a four-part series on Dietrich Bonhoeffer’s “Stations on the Road to Freedom.”   “A God without wrath brought men without sin into a kingdom without judgment through the ministrations of a Christ without a Cross.” That is H. Richard Niebuhr’s classic summary of liberal Christianity. The cross is prominent in our church – but the moderating, attenuating spirit is ever at work within us. I like my Christ with His cross, but I would like to be a Christian without crosses of my own. The Gospel of Jesus sets us free from the guilt of sin. Yet sin as a power still clings to us, inhering in our nature. The inclination to evil desires sometimes takes us by surprise, arising seemingly out…

Sermo Dei: Christmas Eve Lessons and Carols 2014

Posted on December 24th, 2014

After this, we go home. Or maybe to a relative’s, or to a party. Rich food, strong drink, festive music. And gifts. After this we go home. What if you could not? What if there were no gifts? Would that make it a bad Christmas? What if you couldn’t go home? A good Christmas is not something we can have by what we give – or get from other people. Writing from his prison cell in December 1943, German pastor Dietrich Bonhoeffer remembered fondly the beautiful Christmas celebrations his parents gave him as a child, and how later he greatly enjoyed buying Christmas presents for others. But now, imprisoned by the Nazis for his resistance, Pastor Bonhoeffer wrote, Now that we have nothing to…

The Marriage of Rachel Rand and David Kent

Posted on December 21st, 2014

David, last night your brother Dan told us about the time you had a week to grow out your hair while playing Jesus in a sixth-grade pageant. With this wedding, you get to resume that role. In your marriage, you play Jesus, you are called to be Jesus to your wife. This is more a manly thing even than winning second prize in a hairy chest competition. I have a profound respect for people like you who serve in our armed forces to protect our country. The skill and courage to fight requires strength. Now as a husband, you will need a different kind of strength. A twentieth century figure I admire is the German pastor Dietrich Bonhoeffer. His older brothers had all fought…

Adapting the local lifestyle

Posted on August 14th, 2014

In a recent interview on Issues, Etc., LCMS President Matthew Harrison encouraged pastors to get to know their people, spend time in their homes, hospital rooms, lives. Only through this will the preacher be able to truly preach to his people. It reminded me of this quotation from Eric Metaxas’s biography of Bonhoeffer about his time spent in Barcelona: The intellectual dullness and the overwhelmingly languorous atmosphere of Barcelona pushed hard against Bonhoeffer’s hyperactive mind and personality. He was amazed at how people of all ages seemed to while away the hours sitting at cafés in the middle of the day, chattering about little of any real substance. He observed that besides coffee, vermouth-and-sodas were particularly popular, usually served with half a dozen oysters.…

Ritual and true worship

Posted on July 8th, 2014

Bonhoeffer’s journey to Rome as a young man opened his eyes to ritual’s possibility. Ritual helps express the catholicity of the Church, as many different languages, ethnicities, and cultures join in a common ritual. And ritual helps us forget ourselves and enter deep into the mystery of the Faith. Here is Bonhoeffer on the church’s catholicity: The occasion for his epiphany that day was a Mass at St. Peter’s performed by a cardinal, with a boys’ choir whose singing took his breath away. A host of other clergy, including seminarians and monks, was at the altar: “The universality of the church was illustrated in a marvelously effective manner. White, black, yellow members of religious orders— everyone was in clerical robes united under the church. It…

The Unity of the West

Posted on January 12th, 2011

Fr. Charles Caput, Roman Archbishop of Denver, on the world’s two biggest lies (emphasis mine): Two of the biggest lies in the world today are these: first, that Christianity was of relatively minor importance in the development of the West; and second, that Western values and institutions can be sustained without a grounding in Christian moral principles. […] Downplaying the West’s Christian past is sometimes done with the best intentions, from a desire to promote peaceful co-existence in a pluralistic society. But more frequently it’s done to marginalize Christians and to neutralize the Church’s public witness. The Church needs to name and fight this lie. To be a European or an American is to be heir to a profound Christian synthesis of Greek philosophy…

Trinity 16 sermon

Posted on October 3rd, 2009

From Sept. 27, 2009 Gospel: Luke 7:11-17 The American religion tends to equate faith with success, prosperity, and health. If you lead a good life, good things will come to you. One slogan puts it this way: “God loves you and has a wonderful plan for your life.” The first part is true. But God’s plan for the followers of Jesus might not be what the world calls “wonderful.” Dietrich Bonhoeffer’s famous saying is more accurate: “When God calls a man, He bids him come and die.” Faith or obedience will not eliminate tribulations in our life. Afflictions come to the faithful to strengthen their faith further. Whom the Lord loves, He chastens.