Remember

 In Featured, Pastor Paul's Blog

By Pastor Paul Gauche

Today’s Word: ‘Remember’ as in… “Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.” So said writer and philosopher George Santayana.

Saturday, April 9, 2022, marks the 77th anniversary of the death of Dietrich Bonhoeffer. Bonhoeffer’s life story is one of the great epics of courage and conviction. A young Lutheran pastor in Germany when Adolph Hitler came to power, Bonhoeffer was one of the first among his colleagues to recognize the threat posed by Nazism to the fundamental human values of Western civilization. He was a leader in the Confessing Church, a group of pastors who actively opposed the Nazification of the German Lutheran Church and played an active role in the German resistance movement. As a result, he was arrested by the Gestapo in 1943 and spent his last two years in prison and concentration camps. Those in prison with him recalled his strength and perseverance as he provided guidance and spiritual inspiration not only to fellow prisoners but also to the prison guards.

On April 8, 1945, Dietrich Bonhoeffer was taken to Flossenburg concentration camp, where he was interrogated late into the night. Early the following morning, he and the other condemned prisoners were led out of their cells and executed by special order of Heinrich Himmler. Dietrich Bonhoeffer was 39 years old. Recalling the details sometime later, the prison doctor wrote these words: “Through the half-open door, I saw Pastor Bonhoeffer, still in his prison clothes, kneeling in fervent prayer to the Lord his God. The devotion I saw in the prayer of this intensely captivating man moved me to the depths.” Since his death, his countless writings and life stories have inspired and challenged countless people worldwide.

As we mark the anniversary of Bonhoeffer’s death, we dare not remain overwhelmed by the violence of the past or mesmerized by the evil in this present moment. But let us move ever more toward a future where all people are more fully human, free, fully alive, and resurrected. When we give ourselves to that, we will say with Dietrich: “This is… the beginning of life.”

#100days50words

Paul Gauche is the Pastor of Life Transitions at Prince of Peace. His posts are part of his #100days50words project, where he blogs about a different word each week. You can follow his project on Instagram (@pgauche) or his blog, Thriving Rhythms.

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