“This is the end—for me, the beginning of life.”
These are the reported last words of German pastor and theologian Dietrich Bonhoeffer, who was executed in Flossenbürg concentration camp over seventy years ago.
Bonhoeffer didn’t only write about costly discipleship and grace. His life fully reflected his work and Scripture. It was a life he surrendered into the hands of Jesus, not just on the day he died, but years before that. As a pastor in Nazi Germany, he worked tirelessly to encourage the church to stand up for issues of social justice and human dignity.
Even now, Bonhoeffer’s works and ideas challenge church views of Jesus, grace and the Christian walk. May these quotes encourage those who minister to remember the purpose of the church: to preach and proclaim the gospel of Jesus Christ.
“The more genuine and the deeper our community becomes, the more will everything else between us recede, the more clearly and purely will Jesus Christ and his work become the one and only thing that is vital between us. We have one another only through Christ, but through Christ we do have one another, wholly, and for all eternity.”
“The believer feels no shame, as though he were still living too much in the flesh, when he yearns for the physical presence of other Christians.”
“The Cross is not the terrible end of a pious happy life. Instead, it stands at the beginning of community with Jesus Christ. Whenever Christ calls us, his call leads us to death.”