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

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)

Church History

Dietrich Bonhoeffer (1906–1945)

Dietrich Bonhoeffer (1906–1945)

Dietrich Bonhoeffer was a German Lutheran pastor, theologian, anti-Nazi dissident, and founding member of the Confessing Church. In his second dissertation Act and Being he argued that “not all roads appear blocked to the eschatology of apocatastasis.” In his Sanctorum Communio, Bonhoeffer made the stronger claim:

The strongest reason for accepting the idea of apocatastasis would seem to me that all Christians must be aware of having brought sin into the world, and thus aware of being bound together with the whole of humanity in sin, aware of having the sins of humanity on their conscience. Justification and sanctification are inconceivable for anyone if that individual believer cannot be assured that God will embrace not only them but all those for whose sins they are responsible.” (Dietrich Bonhoeffer in Sanctorum Communio)
Though not embracing the belief in a final universal restitution as a theological doctrine, Bonhoeffer seems to have come close at affirming at least the possibility that all will eventually come to faith in Christ.