Wednesday, April 26, 2006

A Faith To Sing About

My friend and former colleague, Simon Holt, in his Simply Simon blogsite has posted this wonderful reflection and song (which from memory goes to the tune Finlandia):

Dietrich Bonhoeffer (1906 – 1945), theologian and founder of the Confessing Church's underground seminary in Germany, became a leading spokesman for the Protestant resistance to the Nazi regime. His active involvement in a plan to overthrow Hitler saw him arrested, imprisoned and, ultimately, condemned to death. At just 39 years of age, one of the most promising and challenging voices in theology was silenced. Yet the influence of his life and writing upon the Christian church has been extraordinary.

Bonhoeffer wrote the following hymn in the concentration camp shortly before his death. We sang these words in chapel just yesterday, an experience I found quite moving.

By gracious powers so wonderfully sheltered,
and confidently waiting come what may,
we know that God is with us night and morning,
and never fails to greet us each new day.

Yet is this heart by its old foe tormented,
still evil days bring burdens hard to bear;
Oh, give our frightened souls the sure salvation
for which, O Lord, you taught us to prepare.

And when this cup you give is filled to brimming
with bitter suffering, hard to understand,
we take it thankfully and without trembling,
out of so good and so beloved a hand.

Yet when again in this same world you give us
the joy we had, the brightness of your Sun,
we shall remember all the days we lived through,
and our whole life shall then be yours alone.

Source: Simon Holt in his blog site, Simply Simon

Image: A Dietrich Bonhoeffer montage.