Dietrich Bonhoeffer

In Facebook, a good friend of mine, Reinhard DL1UF/W7, has posted a beautiful poem and song by Dietrich Bonhoeffer. It sure has made my heart trembled. As soon as the iron curtain was opened in Germany, Reinhard, who had already moved from the East to the West years back, told, he was lead to Bonhoeffer's grave by his friend. Bonhoeffer must be an unforgettable person for Reinhard as well. I would like to quote his post here below.

The reasons why his post has moved me so deeply are double.

First, Bonhoeffer was the author of a book titled Resistance and Submission, which a reading circle of a  bible class took up back in 1970 or 1971. I have attended that class so impressive to me, who was wondering what to do in the future. Even if I have left the belief in Christianity later years, Bonhoeffer has shown how to live own life. Now we are confronting to the Nazis or its equivalent movements of politics not only in Japan but also everywhere in the world. "Nazional" means not national but of the people. That political movement was pretended to be for the people. The slogan "certain country first" reminds me of the party platform of Nazis. The 1st article of the platform depicted the movement was for the people. It was based on the racial discrimination. Isn't it what is going on everywhere in the world? I am overwhelmed at the reality going on in the world now. I never thought I should go through this crisis in my life. The same crisis as in WWII won't repeat. But I am still afraid there would be devastating events due to this authoritarianism. Some episodes of conflicts or of civil wars are going on in Africa and Middel East. This East Asia won't be an exception in the very near future. We should be ready for such a crisis. We belong to the generation who has never experienced any total war. It is looming to us in the other way than total war. Bonhoeffer tells us we should be ready for that maintaining the belief we are secured and guarded in any occasion however tough it might be.

Secondly, related with the first written above, I used to have a good friend at the reading circle. I could not forget that circle held at a small hall, quiet and comfortable, in Tokyo, where I have had acquaintance with him. He was a med student at that time. He was a kind and faithful Christian and behaved like a real borther to me. Since he graduated the med school of Tokyo University, he had been working as a neurosurgeon and a med school staff as well as one of the responsible staff of JOCS : Japan Overseas Christian Medical Cooperative Service. He has done a great job in some developing countries as well as at a med school, where we have worked at the same time for a while. As a neurosurgeon, he has treated my father suffering from subarachnoidal hemorrhage due to an accident. He was so kind that he always briefly asked how I was doing etc whenever going across with him anywhere in the hospital. He was invited to his mother school as a professor at his early fifties. In a few years, however, he has found to have memory dysfunction with himself, which was later diagnosed as the early onset Alzheimer. He has resigned his position at the school and has publicated on his illness to people. He has been advocating on the illness to people for a few years. Gradually progressed, his illness has made him bedridden losing the way of communication to the others including his wife. She told that she would see what God would do for him until the end of his life. I could not help imagining what he had thought on himself when he knew he had had the illness. He must have had many plans as a professor, a doctor and a father of children for the rest of his life. What disappointment and despair he has got through! Whenever I hear the name of Bonhoeffer, his story comes up in my mind with deep sorrow. His life seems to overlap that of bonhoeffer in the tragedy even though their lives are/were spent in different ages and in different situations. I believe, however, on behalf of himself, I should do anything I could do against the present movement toward authoritarianism in our country. I believe he has been strongly against the present trend to the authoritarianism.

Here is the post Reinhard has given to us in Facebook;


Dietrich Bonhoeffer, theologian and anti-Nazi dissident, wrote the poem “Von Guten M├Ąchten wunderbar geborgen…” in a concentration camp on Christmas 1944 not too long before he was executed. An amazing man… One the family’s favorite songs. Brother Volker sent this link just before the start of the New Year in Germany
By loving forces silently surrounded,
I feel quite soothed, secure, and filled with grace.
So I would like to live these days together,
and go with you into another year.
Still matters of the past are pressing our hearts
and evil days are weighing down on us.
Oh Lord, to our souls, so scared and sore,
give rescue, as it's that you made us for.
And when you pass to us the bitter chalice
of suffering, filled to the brim and more,
we take it, full of thanks and trembling not,
from this, your caring and beloved hand.
But if you want to please us, over and again,
with our shining sun and wondrous world,
let us muse on what is past, and then we shall,
with our lives, in all belong to you.
Warm and bright be our candles' flame today,
since into gloom you brought a gleaming light,
and lead again us, if you will, together!
We know it: you are beaming in the night.
When silence now will snow around us ev'rywhere,
so let us hear the all-embracing sound
of greater things than we can see and wider,
your world, and all your children's soaring hail.
By loving forces wonderfully sheltered,
we are awaiting fearlessly what comes.
God is with us at dusk and in the morning
and most assuredly on ev'ry day.


End of quote

Sorry for the grave and serious content of the post for the very first one in this new year. I hope this will find you in good health and hope for this year. 


  1. Thank you Shin. A touching poem for the New Year.


    1. John,

      Thank you. It was a most moving song. See you soon.