Ordinary Things

Dear Brothers and Sisters,

Bonhoeffer was a brilliant young pastor and seminary teacher who opposed Adolph Hitler’s policies in the 1930’s. On April 5,1943, the Germans arrested Bonhoeffer and put him in prison. Two years later the Nazis executed him, hanging him on the gallows just days before the Allies swept in to liberate Germany.

About ten weeks after his arrest, Bonhoeffer ended a letter (his correspondence during captivity has been published in a “Letters and papers from Prison” ) to his parents with these words

“It is Monday, and I was just sitting down to a dinner of turnips and potatoes when a parcel you sent me by Ruth arrived. Such things give me greater joy than I can say. Although I am utterly convinced that nothing can break the bonds between us, I seem to need some outward token or sign to reassure me. In this way , material things become the vehicles of spiritual realities. I suppose it is rather like the felt need in our religion for sacraments (Holy Communion and Baptism).”

Such ordinary things speak to us in extraordinary ways of the resurrection of Christ. (Dietrich Bonhoeffer, “Letters and Papers from Prison [New York: Macmillan, 1967, p.78.]

Pastor David J. Jensen

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