Dietrich Bonhoeffer is one of the theologians I admired. He died as a martyr resisting the Nazi reign in Germany during the Second World War. So when I read from the Bible Gateway site that his 40 Day Journey is being reissued to be sent directly to my inbox, I subscribed. Bonhoeffer’s theological reflections are very practical and truly relevant today as they were more than 8 decades ago. I am sharing in this blog some of his thoughts that challenges us to look at ourselves as Jesus’ disciples.
These people without possessions, these strangers, these powerless, these sinners, these followers of Jesus live with him now also in the renunciation of their own dignity, for they are merciful. As if their own need and lack were not enough, they share in other people’s need, debasement, and guilt. They have an irresistible love for the lowly, the sick, for those who are in misery, for those who are demeaned and abased, for those who suffer injustice and are rejected, for everyone in pain and anxiety. They seek out all those who have fallen into sin and guilt. No need is too great, no sin too dreadful for mercy to reach. The merciful give their own honor to those who have fallen into shame and take that shame unto themselves. They may be found in the company of tax collectors and sinners and willingly bear the shame of their fellowship. Disciples give away anyone’s greatest possession, their own dignity and honor, and show mercy. They know only one dignity and honor, the mercy of their Lord, which is their only source of life.