Bonhoeffer: “God goes to all people in their need”

God goes to all people in their need, fills body and soul with God’s own bread, goes for Christians and heathens to Calvary’s death and forgives them both.

The following poem by the German pastor and theologian Dietrich Bonhoeffer, was written in 1944, two days before he participated in the failed attempt to kill Hitler. According to Bonhoeffer, to live in the world as a Christian is to partake in the sufferings of Christ by living a ‘wordly’ life, without religion. God is with all people in their sufferings. Bonhoeffer concludes:

Dietrich Bonhoeffer (1906-1945)

People go to God when they’re in need,
plead for help, pray for blessings and bread,
for rescue from their sickness, guilt, and death.
So do they all. All of them, Christians and heathens.

People go to God when God’s in need,
find God poor, reviled, without shelter or bread,
see God devoured by sin, weakness, and death.
Christians stand by God in God’s own pain.

God goes to all people in their need,
fills body and soul with God’s own bread,
goes for Christians and heathens to Calvary’s death
and forgives them both.

The original text in German:

Menschen gehen zu Gott in ihrer Not,
flehen um Hilfe, bitten um Glück und Brot
um Errettung aus Krankheit, Schuld und Tod.
So tun sie alle, alle, Christen und Heiden.

Menschen gehen zu Gott in Seiner Not,
finden ihn arm, geschmäht, ohne Obdach und Brot,
sehen ihn verschlungen von Sünde, Schwachheit und Tod. Christen stehen bei Gott in Seinen Leiden.

Gott geht zu allen Menschen in ihrer Not,
sättigt den Leib und die Seele mit Seinem Brot,
stirbt für Christen und Heiden den Kreuzestod,
und vergibt ihnen beiden.

– Dietrich Bonhoeffer (1906-1945), Works, Volume 8, Letters and Papers From Prison, pp. 460-61 / Widerstand und Ergebung, DBW Band 8, Seite 515 f

See also: Dietrich Bonhoeffer (1906–1945)

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