Lent with Bonhoeffer, Saturday, March 16, 2013
Old Testament Reading from Revised Common Lectionary Lent 5C
Isaiah 43:16-21 (ESV)
 Thus says the LORD,
who makes a way in the sea,
a path in the mighty waters,
 who brings forth chariot and horse,
army and warrior;
they lie down, they cannot rise,
they are extinguished, quenched like a wick:
 “Remember not the former things,
nor consider the things of old.
 Behold, I am doing a new thing;
now it springs forth, do you not perceive it?
I will make a way in the wilderness
and rivers in the desert.
 The wild beasts will honor me,
the jackals and the ostriches,
for I give water in the wilderness,
rivers in the desert,
to give drink to my chosen people,
 the people whom I formed for myself
that they might declare my praise.
With the introduction, “Thus Saith The Lord” (in the KJV translation), we know that this is a direct prophecy from God to his people. Verses 18 and 19 are a perfect declaration for the season of Lent. Keep Looking Forward, God is doing something new! It is an exhortation to praise God and live in the Spirit of Immanence. Be alert to God’s presence, because the future Kingdom is continually being ushered in around us.
A brief introduction to the background of The Cost of Discipleship.
The Cost of Discipleship is the cornerstone of Bonhoeffer’s theological ideas. The central theme is his exegesis of the Sermon on the Mount. Influenced by his interpretation of that passage, his idea of Costly Discipleship develops. His work is also influenced by his time spent in New York, particularly, the teachings of “cheap grace” from Rev. Powell, a minister at the predominantly African-American Abyssinian Baptist Church that Bonhoeffer attended and taught Sunday School at while attending Union Theological Seminary in the 1930’s. As I believe we mentioned in our look at the letters of Bonhoeffer, in a letter to his family, he said that he finally began to seriously look at the Sermon on the Mount. In a letter dated January, 14 1935, to his brother, Karl-Friedrick, he states – “…the restoration of the church will surely come only from a new type of monasticism which has nothing in common with the old but a complete lack of compromise in a life lived in accordance with the Sermon on the Mount in the discipleship of Christ. I think it is time to gather people together to do this…”
Cheap Grace revolves around the idea that real devotion to Jesus Christ had been abandoned with the rise of Cultural Christianity. Cheap Grace didn’t involve any sacrifice or repentance. Instead of true discipleship and submission to the will of Christ, society practices and preaches “forgiveness without requiring repentance, baptism without church discipline. Communion without confession.“
Litany of Confession
When we resist your call to change our hearts and allow a deepening of relationship:
God have mercy.
When we nurse our wounded hearts and withhold forgiveness which may
Christ have mercy.
When fear for our own security leads us to close our hearts from
those who are in need:
God have mercy.