Desert Journeys 28
April 7th 2017
Prison as a desert journey…
Imagine yourself in war-torn Germany in April 1943, being hauled off to prison by the Nazis, not knowing the charges against you, much less how long your imprisonment might last. How would you feel? How would you react?
Dietrich Bonhoeffer, one of the great Lutheran theologians of the 20th century provides fascinating insight into this scenario in his book, Letters from Prison.
…People outside find it difficult to imagine what prison life is like. The situation in itself – that is each single moment – is perhaps not so very different here from anywhere else; I read, meditate, write, pace up and down my cell… The great thing is to stick to what one still has and can do…and not to be dominated by the thought of what one cannot do, and by feelings of resentment and discontent.
(Bethe, Eberhard, ed., 1981. Dietrich Bonhoeffer’s Letters and Papers from Prison. London: SCM Classics. p. 4)
Does Bonhoeffer’s early desert wisdom carry him through his two years of incarceration? The intimacy of his personal writings to family and friends, and the faith to which they testify, makes compelling reading. Immerse yourself in his desert journey.
(Bonhoeffer was martyred on 9 April 1945)
Lay minister, St Anne’s Lutheran Church