Thursday, December 15, 2016

Thursday, December 15, 2016

Thursday, December 15, 2016
1 Peter 1: 6 – 9 

Joy Amidst Hardship

Europe of 1943 was in the iron grip of the Nazi war machine; yet there was immense resistance by German individuals seeking an end to persecution of the Jews and peaceful return to a way of life once lived.  Such a person was Dietrich Bonhoeffer, theologian, professor and loyal son devoted to his family.  Imprisoned for involvement in two attempts on Adolph Hitler’s life, letter writing, studying and praying for fellow inmates became Dietrich’s immediate ministry, providing a sense of purpose amid rigors of solitary confinement.

The beginnings of joy broke through the gloom of one November Sunday morning, the first of Advent, when he hung a small wreath and a nativity painting in his cell by the Italian painter Fra Filippo Lippi.

Freedom amidst solitude – how was this possible?

Setting heart and spirit on quiet, hopeful waiting enriched Dietrich’s everyday existence for the next two years.

He was put to death by hanging a mere one month before the end of the World War II leaving a legacy of bravery and dedication.

Michael Van Dyke, Radical Integrity:  The Story of Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Uhrichsville, Ohio: Barbour Publishing, Inc, 2001

- Janice Barnes

National Gallery of Art
Fra Filippo Lippi and Workshop
The Nativity
probably c. 1445

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