Lent with Bonhoeffer

by xcrawford

Dietrich Bonhoeffer

For Lent, I have been attempting to do a daily devotion focused on Bonhoeffer, the German theologian that was executed by the Nazi regime. I have been using some writings of Bonhoeffer and some writings and audiovisual presentations about Bonhoeffer.

One of the resources I have started with is a Open Courseware lecture series titled “Practical Instruction on Preaching from Bonhoeffer” from Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary. The class is a series of lectures presented by Dr. David Hansen, and it is available for free from ItunesU.

In addition I have been reading the Daily Office lectionary readings for the New Testament and for the Gospels, and focusing on a traditional prayer from historic church leaders.

Wednesday, Feb 20, 2013’s Readings Are:

  • New Testament: Hebrews 3:12-19
  • Gospel: John 2:23-3:15

The reading from Hebrews is an exhortation to not fall back in to sin, because that is what happened to the Children of Israel after leaving Egypt. The writer of the letter to the Hebrews says,  “Take care, brothers, lest there be in any of you an evil, unbelieving heart, leading you to fall away from the living God.” (Hebrews 3:12 ESV)

The Gospel of John verses tell the story of the encounter of Nicodemus and Jesus. Nicodemus says that he knows that Jesus is a teacher sent from God, but doesn’t understand what it means to be born again. Jesus tells Nicodemus that he must be born of Spirit to enter the Kingdom of God. When asked “How can these things be?” Jesus answers that Nicodemus is a Pharisee, a religious teacher, he should understand these things. Jesus concludes, “No one has ascended into heaven except he who descended from heaven, the Son of Man. [14] And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, so must the Son of Man be lifted up, [15] that whoever believes in him may have eternal life.” (John 3:13-15 ESV)

Bonhoeffer ­ A Prayer for Lent
I Cannot Do This Alone
O God, early in the morning I cry to you.
Help me to pray
And to concentrate my thoughts on you;
I cannot do this alone.
In me there is darkness,
But with you there is light;
I am lonely, but you do not leave me;
I am feeble in heart, but with you there is help;
I am restless, but with you there is peace.
In me there is bitterness, but with you there is patience;
I do not understand your ways,
But you know the way for me….
Restore me to liberty,
And enable me to live now
That I may answer before you and before men.
Lord whatever this day may bring,
Your name be praised.

—I will soon try to include a summary of the Bonhoeffer on Preaching lectures