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Wednesdays with the Saints Evening Prayer
April 10 @ 5:15 PM - 5:45 PM
Wednesdays with the Saints
Evening Prayer Service
Daily prayers are said on a regular schedule at Saint James. On Wednesday evenings, we invite you to explore and celebrate the inspiring lives of the saints at our Evening Prayer service.
This week we give thanks for Dietrich Bonhoeffer, theologian and martyr. Dietrich Bonhoeffer was born February 4, 1906. He studied at the universities of Berlin and Tübingen. His doctoral thesis was published in 1930 as Sanctorum Communio.
From the first days of the Nazi accession to power in 1933, Bonhoeffer was involved in protests against the regime. From 1933 to 1935 he was the pastor of two small congregations in London, but nonetheless was a leading spokesman for the Confessing Church, the center of Protestant resistance to the Nazis. In 1935 Bonhoeffer was appointed to organize and head a new seminary for the Confessing Church at Finkenwald. He described the community in Life Together and later wrote The Cost of Discipleship.
Bonhoeffer became increasingly involved in the political struggle after 1939, when he was introduced to the group seeking Hitler’s overthrow. Bonhoeffer considered refuge in the United States, but he returned to Germany where he was able to continue his resistance. In May 1942 he flew to Sweden to meet Bishop Bell, (Bishop of Chichester and a key world ally) to convey to the British government through Bell, proposals for a negotiated peace. The offer was rejected by the Allies who insisted upon unconditional surrender.
Bonhoeffer was arrested April 5, 1943, and imprisoned in Berlin. After an attempt on Hitler’s life failed April 9, 1944, documents were discovered linking Bonhoeffer to the conspiracy. He was taken to Buchenwald concentration camp, then to Schoenberg Prison. On Sunday, April 8, 1945, just as he concluded a service in a school building in Schoenberg, two men came in with the chilling summons, “Prisoner Bonhoeffer … come with us.” He said to another prisoner, “This is the end. For me, the beginning of life.” Bonhoeffer was
hanged the next day, April 9, at Flossenburg Prison.
There is in Bonhoeffer’s life a remarkable unity of faith, prayer, writing and action. The pacifist theologian came to accept the guilt of plotting the death of Hitler because he was convinced that not to do so would be a greater evil. Discipleship was to be had only at great cost.[Excerpted from Holy Men Holy Women: Celebrating the Saints, published by Church Publishing Co.]